For the past three weeks our home and that of our daughter and her family, a mile down the road, have been a reunion point for family and friends.
There is great joy in welcoming those we love.
Celebratory meals have been prepared and shared.
At times the cacaphony of laughter, talk, voices tumbling one over the other, have been almost over-whelming. There have been tears choked back at partings, hugs, the wrench of leave-taking, the blessings for safe journeys.
With the dust now settling, I find, not surprisingly that I have a lot to process, words to remember, faces, familiar gestures, stories to be sorted and stored away rather in the manner of the laundered sheets which have been whisked from beds to clothesline to linen cupboard.
With the last guests waved off on Wednesday morning J. and I drove to the next county for the discount shopping offered one day per month to those over 60.
We spoke little during the drive, the silence settling about us like dust motes that rearrange after one passes through a room.
Home again, lunch eaten and the groceries put away, I wandered outside while J. betook himself to an appointment with the chiropractor [an appointment long deferred--stubborn man!]
I was surprised to note that in spite of the chilly days and nights of a reluctant spring, blossoms are opening on the two young pear trees.
These are a semi-dwarf variety of the vintage Kieffer Pear which has stood for over a century in our north meadow.
Pebbles the Old Horse, who has seemed to languish unhappily these past months, has been finding ways to get out of her fenced area.
J. has tightened the fence, ramped up the voltage.
He has returned her to her enclosure.
She follows him willingly enough and is out again almost before he has returned to the house.
I feel that all this green feed can't be good for her, but what is one to do?
I decided to walk the fence-line looking for a sagging wire or a place where she had knocked out a post.
Charlie and Bobby McGee paced along with me.
As I trudged around the back of the barn Pebbles watched, looking over her shoulder.
Near the top garden, Nellie crouched over a mole's tunnel, his 'arms' stretched downward into the soft earth which he had excavated. This morning he brought us a huge dead mole which has been left just beyond the sliding doors, going soggy in the desultory rain of the day.
We have had another quiet day, spent mostly inside--J. by the living-room fire watching TV and nursing his sore shoulder.
I kindled a fire downstairs and made good use of the afternoon stitching down quilt bindings.
We are tired. a bit 'let-down,' waiting for the normal pattern of our days to re-emerge; hoping for warmer, drier weather, and the enthusiasm of gardening to revive us.