I greatly enjoyed my several days in Tennessee--in the home of a favorite niece.
We arrived there late on a Saturday afternoon, and after a few minutes to haul in our baggage and visit the restroom, we loaded into the car to be driven another hour to a special mountaintop restaurant where we were met by S.A.'s daughter and boyfriend to celebrate B.'s upcoming birthday. Taking my cue from S.A. and A. who are familiar with the menu, I ordered as one of the 'sides'
a grilled portobella mushroom--delicious.
The weather was lovely while we were there. Just that few hours south and east of home the leaves on the trees were barely beginning to turn to autumn hues.
Sunday brought more family to visit and lively conversations, carried out on my part as I rolled pastry for several large pies.
Monday morning on my own, after S.A. departed for the private clinic where she is a Nurse Practitioner; J. and B. headed off to yet another day of roof replacement.
I was collected at noon by A.--[S.A.'s daughter] and treated to lunch at a nearby Greek restaurant before heading to the mall.
[I've not been in a shopping mall literally in years--there was only one in the entire state of Wyoming!]
I had expressed the need to find 2 pairs of comfortable but slightly dressy shoes and A. knew exactly where to look.
She by-passed the endless displays and headed directly for the sales tables!
I am now most happily [and comfortably] in possession of shoes which wouldn't have been available to me here in the hills of Kentucky.
And what's more, G. the queen of 'what-not-to-wear' approves of my choices!
A quick tour of A.'s little house, a glass of iced tea, and a romp with her boyfriend's lolloping young Great Dane, before I was returned to the big house.
S.A.'s routine is to disappear to her cozy sewing area as soon as supper is finished and the kitchen made immaculately tidy.
We sat companionably with our hand-stitching projects each evening until bed time.
J. and I headed home to Kentucky on Wednesday noon, a grey day of shifting clouds and desultory drizzle.
J. takes a route which by-passes the thruway, and climbs through miles of steep wooded hills. The rusty leaves of oak and hickory patched the misty landscape, fog swirled above creek banks in the
dips of the land.
The events, the faces, the conversations of the previous days floated and swirled through my head as the big red truck roared along the wet black pavement.
I had lost track of time before we gained an hour upon crossing the Kentucky state line and was surprised when the local Wal Mart loomed into view.
I had somehow thought the day nearly over--it was only 3 P.M. Central time!
Thursday morning was chilly and dark. J. carried in an armload of cedar kindling and started a fire.
The house warmed and the scent of cedar mingled with the venison stew bubbling in the crockpot--the first fall meal of 'comfort food.'
The cats, who had been torn between giddy welcome and aloof disdain [how could I go off and leave them?] the night before, got in my way in the kitchen, clamoring for my attention, before settling into furry
Sunshine broke through on Friday and I pulled on my boots and went out, camera in hand to record the changes that took place while I was away.
Flowers, cabbages, fuzzy-headed grasses, were pearled with moisture, wet leaves shone darkly in the grass of the lawn.
Bees were slow in the cool air, but determined to glean what sweetness was available.
The pink cosmos are bent and sprawled now from the wind and weather of the long summer.
Their petals gleam like rippled satin still.
A tumble of cosmos and shaggy zinnias.
The sun rises farther to the south, shimmering through the mist that billows up from Big Creek.
The small dogwoods on the front lawn have turned to burgundy red.
Bobby and Nellie pouncing on sluggish insects.
The grasshoppers and crickets are still about but the summer nightly chirring of the cicadas is silent now.
This coneflower shines in the upper perennial strip.
I was surprised by its vivid color until I remembered that I had sowed a packet of 'mixed' coneflower seed in the spring. I hope this one will be vigorous and colonize.
Another seedling coneflower, from the same seed mixture, this one pale and shimmering.
My eyes follow the whorled pattern of the center, drawn in.
A late bloom on Hawkeye Belle--so lovely.
A blaze of zinnia glory.
View from the lower gardens across the drive and into the swell of the front dooryard with the meadow beyond stretching to the bright blue sky.
It is good to go away--to visit loved ones, to come home with fresh ideas and inspirations for new projects.
It is good to be home, to putter in my own perpetually untidy space.
I had a new quilt on my sewing table, still bundled into a plastic carrier bag as it came from the quilter.
[The quilter is closing her shop after a short struggle to make ends meet--so difficult for a
small town business]
After J. left on Saturday evening for TN [that endless roof!] I went downstairs, sliced strips of fabric for binding [with feline assistance] and finished two sides of my big quilt.
The other two sides were done on Sunday evening--only after the beautiful golden day slid away into an evening of gold and purple quiet.
I tweaked off the inferior charity shop comforter which has lurked on the bed for the past month and spread my new quilt.
The fabrics are from a stash in rich autumn colors, mellow golds, rich deep shades of purple, red and burnt orange, some warm browns and highlights of deep apricot.
The light side of the blocks is a quiet sprigged fabric which I bought in Pinedale, WY several years before we moved--saved for something I felt was special.
Nellie was on the new quilt before I had smoothed it across the bed!
He opened a sleepy eye when I came to bed two hours later.
As I snuggled into my familiar cushiony bed, other cats landed, purring, to snuggle close.
My thoughts tumbled drowsily. I can now picture the room where J. sleeps at our niece's home--under the quilt of purple batiks, I am familiar with the big kitchen where he will drink his morning coffee this week.
I have met the two small dogs who live there, and can recall the faces of the two cats who peer in the glass front door of a morning.
I have been enriched, inspired, expanded by going away from home.
I am content, quietly happy, to be home again, contemplating fresh projects, settling in for
the approaching winter.