The hummingbirds and geese fly south for the winter, without fail. Without fail, every fall around Thanksgiving, I get the urge to go back to Texas. What is that? I think it is my secret method of rediscovering my attitude of gratitude.
About the second or third freezing cold night that I stay up until two a.m. trying to keep the wood stove stoked, I catch myself fantasizing about getting in my car and leaving for points south. Of course, given how I live on the edge of the financial abyss, I never know whether I will be able to afford leaving. My bad habit of forgetting that I create my own reality kicks in and I come down with the desolation blues. Nothing feels right. I have to talk myself into a better attitude, just so I do not go over the cliff. I always get really close to that edge, but thanks to having words of wisdom in my small library, I manage to find just the right reminders. I begin to sense that maybe I can get away, just for a few days, perhaps even for a week. That is usually when I call my daughter, although this year, I waited to see if she would call me.
She called and said the spare room was ready for me. That was enough. It always amazes me how quickly whatever comes out of either of my kids’ mouths can have such a powerful effect on me. I immediately started seeing how I might manage a run to Texas.
Then she called again, and that was just a day ago. She played her ukulele and sang a couple of new songs she wrote, and I felt my spirit rising and a smile forming on my face. She said, “Be ready to do a lot of singing when you get here, Mom!”
Thus, I am in gear. Today I carried my houseplants to town, where I was to leave them with a friend, in case a freeze comes this next week. I also went to the Magness Toyota and they serviced the car and put on new front brakes. The service manager was as bright and friendly as ever. She saw my mango tree I had placed on the floorboard in the front passenger side of the car and asked, “What is that, a banana tree?” I said, “No, it is a mango tree, and I am taking it to a friend who has an apartment with very little light coming in.” I was, by then, noticing at least eight houseplants sitting in the sun that was coming through the plate glass wall of the garage. I asked Theresa, “You have such a wonderful spot for these plants! How would you feel about letting me put my plants with these for a week? The mango tree would love it!” She said, “That would be fine by me! All those plants there are mine. There is plenty of room and it would be no trouble at all.” How wonderful! While I was in the cashier’s office paying my bill, Theresa unloaded the plants and placed them with hers in that lovely, sunny spot. She asked if any of them need special care. “Just to be watered and misted, as I see you have a misting bottle.” She assured me that she mists her plants each day, so she would mist mine, as well. As I drove away, my heart felt a rush of gratitude for these people at this Toyota place. They gave my car excellent service and granted me a personal favor, making my get-away carefree.
I filled the car with gas, and then went over to my friend’s apartment. She was waiting for me. We had the coffee she had made in anticipation of my coming over, and was delighted to receive the tomatoes I had brought. I realized I had not had a decent meal today, as I had left at seven this morning, so I asked if I might make us some food. I put together a couple of burritos with sautéed onion, red pepper, and a bit of garlic, with scrambled eggs, cheese, fresh tomatoes, avocado and salsa added. The hunger sated, we left to run a couple of errands. An hour later, back at her apartment, she offered me a hot shower, my first in a couple of months, such a luxury! The sun was getting low, and I needed to get home before dark, so we shared a hug and I headed south toward home.
As I drove through Newton County, I realized how glad I would be to return to this part of the world, after a week in the big city of Austin, Texas. The pink to orange to melon colored light of the setting sun coming through the tall, bare trees on the hills was vivid. So much beauty here, I mused. It seems that it takes my leaving for a while to realize how much I love it here. How quickly my attitude had changed from just a few days back, simply through deciding I have a place to go be with family and friends. The day has gone well, and I have two more days in which to put my cabin in order, pack up, say goodbye to my neighbor and drive the 600 miles with my ever-ready-to-go traveling companion, my Brittany spaniel. We will have a change of pace for a few days and it will be another world altogether. The time will blitz by, and who knows what will happen. In this world of difficulties and so much turmoil, I am once more acutely aware of how blessed I am. It takes those weeks of having the blues to come out on the other side and see that there is so much for which to be thankful. I am not a hummingbird or a goose, but I have that inner sixth sense that it is okay to follow my heart, through which I rediscover the beneficence of life. I am glad for Thanksgiving and so much more!