Helms Farm is home to groves of ancient trees, oaks, pecans, etc., a small family house where his dad was raised, beautifully expanded for Chris and Mark's generation (our age) and growing children, blackberries, vegetable and herb gardens, streams, bee hives, forest and wild places, with rolling hills. Cool breezes caressed us, shade gave cover from the July sun.
It draws old dreams out of me, and memories of wandering this place with my sister circle and with my children. Nothing can replace the women who raise their children with you, kiss their injuries, your hurts, and bring you meals prepared in love for both joy and tragedy as it lifts or crashes our world.
My old plans for raising my children this way, steadily with constancy, out in the rural world where you never knew what would wander across your backyard early in the morning, those goals didn't go as planned.
Instead we moved 6 years ago to St. Louis and found new dreams, found new friends, and work to keep these that still love us in the South. Being of Ripe Age, I also have these kinds of connections to people in all kinds of unlikely places. Not just Florida and Georgia where I was raised, but also off in the worlds where friends have gone to - Seattle, New Jersey!
I wonder today at the small underlying grief for paths not taken, and for the physical absence of all of my children, in the season of their time with others, adventure of a modern type. They are getting ready for life, (aka college, an interesting diversion) and practice being grown up (working diligently to pay off debt - yes, already at the ripe old age of 16) and playing diligently in realms of our choosing, among friends and parental units in St. Louis.
I do better now, each year, with their departures. It is after all the job description incarnate - made flesh. To have your children leave the nest. It never goes as planned. The struggle seems most about learning to trust the process, and let go of our deep desire to have some say so. And, if we are lucky, we learn to laugh through our tears.
Coming home helps.