Monday, October 18, 2010
Carolina In My Mind
I have lived all over this wonderful country from the east coast to the west coast, from the north and to the south. And in some of those states, most noteably, Florida and California, where I lived for a good number of years, there was not a real noticeable change of seasons. Of course, these states offer their own captivating beauty but they weren't my home.
I missed the smell of wood burning stoves early in the morning ~ smoke that permeated the fragrant heralding of cool nights. I missed the beauty of first frost and how good a cup of hot cocoa tastes in front of a bonfire. I missed how the stars looked from my Carolina backyard. But most of all I missed my family. I missed my Granny telling me to count the foggy mornings in August to find out how many snow days we would have that winter. Or how to tell by the wooly worms if winter would be short or long depending on the width of the rings on their body. I missed having a real reason to snuggle under a soft quilt and I missed picking my own apples to carve a doll face from.
One time, while living in Orlando, I was particularly homesick. The kids were wee little ones. Our house had a fireplace. (Who in Orlando uses them, much less needs them? I reckon it's for the ambience?) I had the kids go gather all the leaves and twigs that they could find. We placed them in paper bags, opened the flu, cranked the AC to maximum and created our own autumn festival. My neighbors knew I was the odd one on the street. You know, the Mom who would throw un-birthday parties, take the neighborhood kids in the backyard on a search for shelf fungi, you know, the odd one. And one time, when I lived in Southern California, while pregnant with my middle child and so very homesick for anyone with a southern accent, that my ex drove me up to Big Bear area. Now that is a mountain range! I did get to see beautiful fall foliage and gathered the LARGEST pinecones ever.
The first year I moved the kids back home, 17 years ago, will always be fresh in my mind. The children had never seen leaves changing their color. I introduced them to the sheer joy of raking up mountains of leaves and jumping in them. We foraged for acorns and pinecones to make a wreath. And we carved a pumpkin for the first time. In my memory it was the finest carved pumpkin, let me tell you Martha Stewart had nothing over the masterpiece my crew came up with!
My kids are grown now, each living in their own place. They still love fall. They may not enjoy raking leaves as much these days, and perhaps they view acorns littering the walkways as ankle breakers, but they still enjoy the nostalgic memory of homecoming when a wisp of wood smoke is in the air.