Tiny Stories, Tiny Tales

I heard the auctioneer from afar

Today, after my dear husband departed for the pleasures (computer conference geekery) of Spain, I headed out to Big Rock. My first thoughts on getting out into the country? "Oh Lordy. I need a cigarette." Yes, the country makes me a twitch a bit. The lonesome stretches between houses I once found artistic. Now, not so much. I'm a townie and I think, have always been. But since I lived in the country back then, I made it artistic in my mind. Now I don't need to. I didn't buy any cigarettes but picked up my mother and we headed over to the Big Rock Plowing Match, home of winners.

Low and behold, jars of canning. I oogled them and examined the pickles in jars. My mother felt she would win the jam competition if she ever cared to enter her raspberry jam. If she ever made it again, that is…

I wish I had pictures of some of the knitting and crochet and crewel entries but the pictures just didn't turn out. My hand was full of shakes apparently. After perusing these crafts, mom and I headed outside to look at the bizarre and wonderful stalls of the Plowing Match.

I was a little shocked at mom holding a pie, much less being the escort of a headless gentleman but all these things are taken in stride at the Plowing Match.

We strolled through the stalls, I prodded at some gorgeous salmon colored wool roving, and we stared at an old horse drawn hearse wagon in earnest. I meant to take a picture of that but forgot. Oh well. A horse show and making over a baby corgi 5 weeks old was how we ended the Big Rock Plowing Match '07. It was a lovely day and no one from the dismal past appeared. I did see a few friendly acquaintances: the post office ladies and one curious woman, Joyce, known for her interest in used clothing, used goods and prophecy. I didn't sneeze once! and I got a pork chop dinner, something this townie can never find in town. That's the country for you. Full of pork chops.

 

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Life Lessons from a Cardinal

Outdoor living is coming in fits and starts now that it’s June. Last week it was in the 90’s (30C) and today it is gentle and cool with thunderstorms passing by north and south, bringing coolness in the wake of their stormy skirts. The sun shines but the thunder rumbles nearby and my cats retreat farther indoors to snooze on chairs instead of near windows.

It is tempting to join them. The heat break means that deep good sleep is possible again. Even with air conditioning, I sleep poorly when it’s hot. I sleep best when it rains.

And it has been raining at night but in great torrid thunderstorms where the house shakes and the windows rattle. Sometimes I lie in bed as the thunderstorms march by and wonder at the fate of all the creatures and people living outside.

It is summer and I have no arguments with it. It’s too hard to argue with the seasons. On the beautiful days, I sip my breakfast tea outdoors and watch the birds and squirrels to start my day. There’s always a drama playing out in the backyard. My favorite is the cardinal who walks along the deck rail, casting his bright black eye here and there and then breaks into song until a robin kicks him out. When the coast is clear, he returns and does the same thing all over again. Despite my nearness, he doesn’t mind me at all and I adore his bright red plumage and courageous laughing heart. His song cheers my soul and I’ve come to recognize his particular song. It falls under the same lines as all cardinals but it has a bit of improvised trill at the end. I think he’s been hanging out with song sparrows and got Ideas.

He’s a hard individual to photograph (all flash and movement) but I’ve shared a photo of a cardinal from National Geographic so you can get the idea. He’s hard to ignore and is a permanent on the robins’ blacklist. I aspire to such a level of happy insouciance.

How to Get Through a Big Book

How to get through a Big Book and have a little fun too.

  1. Make and eat food mentioned in the book (big books always include food, usually in meticulous detail).
  2. Read a little bit each day.
  3. Make a soundtrack.
  4. Dress like a character from the book for a day. Or a week. Or a month if it really grabs you.
  5. Ten minutes to kill? Daydream about the landscape or what the characters are seeing as they move through their day.
  6. Read passages you enjoy out loud. If you’re in the right mood, record yourself reading passages and share it (Instagram is great for this). Include illustrations if you like (thank you, Shirin).
  7. Whip out a highlighter or some sticky tabs for those great parts.
  8. Pace yourself and remember, reading gigantic books isn’t a race. It’s about the journey. Might as well bring along snacks, good drinks, great lighting, and enjoy the ride.