Dreams

October 25, 2008 at 1:58 am (Dogs, GOD, Pets, Religious, Stories) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )


By Eydie Wight

The Dream.

I have a couple of recurring dreams that have been with me for a while. The first dream I started having when I was still in college. This is a dream that has grown in detail over the years. It’s of a huge old house. When I first enter it, it’s abandoned, dusty, musty, yet somehow ALIVE. It wants me there, but waits to see what I do. I’m frightened, but as I walk around a bit I notice all the old wood in the stair banisters and wainscoting, the grime coated chandeliers in the foyer, dining room and ball room that are miraculously intact, as is the stained glass rose window in the library, the library itself with shelf after shelf of books that are dirty but , thank God, not mildewed. Being me, I start cleaning. I scrub, polish, wax, buff, wash, dust, sweep, shine, sort, and rearrange a different part of the house each time I dream, discovering old lamps and sofas, trunks of long outdated clothes and antique curios. Every time I think, “Now wouldn’t it be cool if there was one of THOSE,” I find one. I’ve wished into existence Victorian lamps, marbled floors, first edition favorite children’s books, and our grandfather’s auto harp. So far I haven’t had to clean any room twice, I think my head just keeps adding on more rooms. But, as I get to the upper floors, the decay seems to be worse. The last time I dreamed of the house I saw that the attic had holes in the roof in places and the floor was rotted in others. I thought, “I don’t know how to fix that, maybe Sammy can help me, I’ll leave that part for last. “ Once I dreamed I found the music room and spent the night polishing, restringing, and tuning instruments. I woke the next morning with a sweet little tune I found on the grand piano music stand going through my head. Sometimes I have a faint sense of people there, and once a young translucent woman followed me around pantomiming placing objects in places she either remembered them being or thought they ought to be.

The second dream is of the meadow. After my first husband Roger died everyone in the family kept saying he came to see them in dreams. “Oh Roger came and talked to me.” “Roger told me he missed me in my dream.” I was so upset, that everyone was getting to see him but ME. And I was the one who wanted him so desperately, just a little more time. I would go to bed at sunset, just as soon as I could get the baby to sleep, and hope to dream. But it was months and he never came. Then one night I dreamed I was on a back country road. I was also on one of those little scooters from gym class that you power by twisting the handlebars from side to side. I had to drive this little scooter up and down hills and past fields of corn, alfalfa, and soybean. Finally as I crested a hill I saw a raised ranch style brick house. I parked my scooter by the door and went in without knocking. I was in a kitchen. And not just a kitchen, an Italian grandma’s kitchen. There was a huge pot (like my canning kettle on steroids) of red sauce simmering on the stove and a warm loaf of bread beside it. I broke off a chunk of bread, dipped a big scoop of sauce up with it, and stuffed it in my mouth. The sauce was thick and tangy, the bread crusty on the outside and heavy and chewy on the inside. The Grandma was sitting at a white metal kitchen table with flour up to her arms, kneading another loaf. I went to help her and she motioned rather vigorously for me to go downstairs, flinging flour off her hands and swinging the loose fat that hung under her arms.

As I went downstairs I heard the sound of billiard balls clacking and smelled cigar smoke. The basement was full of Italian men smoking cigars and shooting pool. They spoke and argued in Italian and one young man winked at me. One of the old men slapped him on the side of the head and said, “Nadda for you.” Then the old man jerked his head toward a partitioned room that had a curtain for a door. I ducked my head inside and found myself in a bathroom. “A bathroom?” I thought, aware at this point that I was dreaming. Then I noticed a door in the side of the room that was open a few inches. It was a narrow door, like a linen closet. I opened it, thinking to find another roll of toilet paper to put out since there was none left (you know how those Italian uncles are), and I kept going further into the dark space. I saw a little crack of light ahead of me, and as I reached for what I thought was another door I felt a shove to my back and stumbled across the threshold.

I found myself blinking in the bright sunlight of a beautiful meadow. A creek sidewindered its way across my field of vision. There was an old tree that had uprooted to hang over the creek. Uprooted but still alive and growing its branches nearly reached the water. The meadow sloped upward to a point where I could no longer see. I looked around, and then a speck of movement at the top of the meadow caught my eye. It was a person walking toward me. Long before I could see his face I recognized the lanky stride as my Roger. “Here you are,” I thought. “I’ve been waiting.” He came to me, and I knew I couldn’t touch him, I knew he was dead, but in that meadow we sat in the grass by the creek and I told him all about little Roger, and me, and life that kept barreling ahead and rolling me with it. And I was comforted.

Since then, I’ve revisited that meadow in my dreams several times. I always come to it in the same way. Roger is always there, always looking the same age as when he left us. But he knows I remarried, and was again widowed, and remarried again. He knows Rog works two jobs and goes to college. The last time I had the dream he had our dog Pickett with him, even though Pickett came into my life years after Roger had left it. He stood with one hand on the tree over the creek and one hand ruffling Pickett’s fur and Pickett was smiling with his tongue hanging out.

I’ve met others in the meadow. Greg stood once near the top, in the distance. He wouldn’t come down to me, but he sent Jack running down to race in circles around me, barking furiously. Once, I think I met GOD. He was fishing in the deep pool in the creek that had formed under the fallen tree and I sat beside him and he offered me those orange peanut butter crackers. I think it was GOD because there was such a huge sense of comfort, humor, understanding, and peace. I’m always glad to see that the heaven my subconscious creates includes my pets.

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How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck?

September 9, 2008 at 8:16 pm (Authors, Books, Dogs, Jasper, Recipes, Rosina Lippi, Sara Donati, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )


By Eydie Wight

Life is but a dream...

Sammy and I had come home from our long weekend of night shifts and slept the sleep of the deep and dreamless. Well, not dreamless. September is always a strange month for me. It is the month when I feel the change of the seasons pull me most strongly. When I was younger and first out on my own I used to change apartments every September. In these later years I roam far afield, collecting flower seeds and odd pods, watching leaves turn and grasses brown. I write more, create more, and dream more in September. So, the dream I had was typical for the month. I always dream in color, and usually in great detail. In the dream I was on top of a ridge admiring the long grasses that moved with the breeze and sloped down to the woods line. An old woman was standing with me, her white hair down to her waist. I asked her, “What must I do?” She told me that I must build a fence of green branches and she swept her arm across what seemed an impossible expanse of space. I started the work, taking only a branch or two from each tree, knowing I could strip the tree and take all its branches as some would do to shorten and ease the task, but choosing instead to roam further and further to find my branches. As I went, I would collect plants and seeds to plant along the fence as it took shape. When I stripped the branches I would fashion bird houses, and baskets that I filled with earth and seeds until the fence became a living thing. Sometimes as I returned I would see the old woman. She became younger as the time passed. And so did I. All the middle age weight came off as I walked and worked and my arms and legs grew muscular again and my own hair grew out long and beautiful. I woke up when I realized in the dream that I really had to pee. I kept looking for a place to pee but kept thinking, “Not here, I can’t pee here.” It’s good I didn’t find a place or Sammy might have had a rude awakening!

Warm hands, warm heart!

A few days ago I had called one of neighbor Dot’s sons who has a hundred acre farm about a mile from us. For the past umpteen years he has allowed us to cut firewood from this, his mom’s, or other properties he owns. He explained a long time ago that a good land steward will judiciously cut standing dead trees, fallen trees, and encroaching trees from field borders. This encourages straight growing timber and lets in more sunlight to field edges. What is culled is firewood. We heat primarily with a wood stove in the winter, using our heat pump only when we are going to be away for more than 24 hours. Our wood stove is a handmade affair my dad had made. The body will accommodate a sixteen inch chunk of wood. Let me just say that I’ve had all kinds of heating systems in my life (gas, oil, coal, electric, hot water baseboard) and wood beats them all in my opinion. With the wood stove going in the basement the floors are warm to the feet and the heat finds every nook of the house. I can stay barefoot inside in the winter and be comfortable.

Pickup that needs a 'Pick-me-up!'

Well, this was the day we had designated as our first day of woodcutting. It was late afternoon by the time we got up and we wanted to get one truck load cut and brought home before dark. We have an old Nissan truck that we use as a farm truck. It has a crunched in front end, more rust than paint, an acrylic driver’s side window and back window that are caulked in place (Sammy is so proud of THAT fix) and a tailgate that will fall off on your foot if you aren’t careful opening it. The gas gauge hasn’t worked in years so we pour a few gallons from the gas can in it each time we use it.

Best to be prepared...

Sammy and I “dressed for the occasion”. Long sleeves, pants, and sturdy shoes. Cutting wood this early in the season has a few considerations. Primarily, until the first hard frost, the poison ivy is still full of juice and vengeful. Until I wised up I used to miss a day or two of work every fall due to oozing, blistered, itchy, raw poison ivy on my forearms from carrying wood chunks to throw in the truck. Secondly, there are still copperheads around while the days are warm and the rocks offer heat and shelter. I’ve never (knock on the woodpile) come across one but it is very much a possibility. A copperhead bite is rarely fatal or even all that serious for an adult but it is frightening, unpleasant, and something I don’t want to have to tell a story about! As the day’s temperature was in the 80’s, humid, and breezeless (not the ideal day to run a chainsaw and heft chunks of wood) we also donned headbands so the sweat wouldn’t drip into our eyes. I know what you’re thinking and yes, of course, we ARE old hippies and we sure do look the part. Sammy has long hair past his shoulders and his headband was a rolled handkerchief. It was also pink and had dancing unicorns and rainbows on it. Mine was a rugged red bandanna. What can I say, real men wear whatever the hell they want and my man likes dancing unicorns and pretty rainbows. Have a problem with that and I’ll beat you up… 🙂

We loaded up the truck with the chainsaw, 2 cycle oil, gas can, chainsaw tool, bottles of water, bug spray, toilet paper, our dog Jasper, and we headed out. Our friend had called us to say he had trimmed and cut down trees that had grown along the fields on his property and we were welcome to the wood. We headed out. The property isn’t too far from home and the short drive led us on a dirt road through Frog Hollow. This is a still wild area where I’ve seen deer, fox, a huge blacksnake hanging from a tree, skunk, raccoon, groundhog, red-tailed hawks, mink, and sometimes fairies and other enchanted folk. One of my favorite poems, “Verbena” (written by my alter ego September Butterfly) came from my wanderings in this area.

Fear the Chiggers!

We drove up the dirt drive and across the fields up to the top of the ridge to park the truck. Despite the high humidity the view here was still breathtaking. We could just see the tip of Buffalo Mountain, seven miles away! And, if we had remembered the binoculars, we could have just made out the clearing that is our own modest homestead two ridges over. Before we got started we sprayed each other down with enough bug spray to have the pesticide environmentalists paying us a visit. This is a fairly recent anointing following our experience when we harvested elderberries for our elderberry wine. We had, on that occasion, neglected to wear suitable clothing or any bug spray and suffered the ravages of chiggers. Chiggers, for those who have never experienced them, are microscopic insects that burrow under your skin and emit an enzyme to liquefy the surrounding tissue which they then feed on. The area becomes red and unbearably itchy. The little bastards are self limiting in about three days but it is a miserable three days. Along with my elderberries I got about a dozen or so bites but Sammy became a metropolis of chiggers. They had condos and apartments and went jogging in the park. He must have had 40 or 50 bites. We now have a borderline irrational fear and hatred of them.

Eydie and Sammy stock up on firewood for the winter.

Anyway, Sammy fired up the chainsaw and I began loading up the truck. The small brush that remained I stacked into piles that our friend will later use his backhoe to push into a huge mound in the field. Come this winter and a good snowfall he will have a magnificent bonfire. The pieces we cut this first load were all small enough that they would not have to be split. Pieces that have too big a circumference have to have the axe taken to them. Our sons are good at splitting wood. One mighty well aimed blow and a chunk is split. Me, I have to use a wedge. And use a wimpy little thunk for fear of missing and chopping into my leg. It isn’t pretty and I generate more heat getting a piece split than I do burning it! We got a truck load of wood cut and we were done in for the day. Cutting wood when the fall air is crisp and clod and the leaves are falling in little dances as you work and the sweat cools as it forms is delightful. Cutting wood when there is no air moving and the sweat soaks into every crevice of your body and the wood chips as they fly stick and itch and make you look like you have a fired chicken coating is a CHORE. And all the poison ivy sits there with a smirk on its leaves and waits to ambush any exposed skin.

We filled up the back of the truck and packed all our gear and started for home. Jasper had to sit half on my feet and half on my lap but with his head hanging out the window he was content. As we drove home with the last of the day’s light we agreed that we would NOT unload the truck that night. I was ready for a shower. We striped off our poison ivy contaminated clothes and hung them outside until wash time. As I padded upstairs to the shower in the clothes God gave me I was glad I live in an area where I have no visible neighbors. And the neighbors would be glad I wasn’t visible just then either!

After we got cleaned up I was “whupped”. Hungry. Cranky. I knew before Sammy even opened his mouth that he would suggest we snap the huge bag of green beans we had picked a few days ago and cook them with some potatoes and ham. And make some of Granny’s homemade cornbread. I was whining, opting for some cheese and pretzels and a beer. But, and chant along with us, Brother John, NO PRODUCE MUST BE WASTED! So, for the next 45 minutes, Sammy sat in the big brown chair and I sat on the floor and we companionably snapped beans and watched politics on TV. Sammy watched politics. I kibitzed until Sammy told me to be quiet so he could hear. I cooked up the ham, green beans, and potatoes in a little chicken broth and made up a pan of cornbread in the big black iron skillet. (Granny’s Cornbread Recipe is in our Food and Wine Recipes section). We put on some corn to boil and Sammy cut up a few ripe tomatoes. I felt much better after we ate. I felt so much better that since I was already in my pajamas I climbed into bed and read an hour or so of Into the Wilderness.

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