Ode to an Irish Blessing Mug

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Today I wanted to make myself a proper cup of English tea, and in doing so I came across this mug:

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It’s pretty fortuitous that I would be using this Irish blessing mug on today of all days. And not just because it’s Irish, actually. This mug has a story.

When I was 14, I traveled back and forth between Georgia and Mississippi with my parents once a month, and we would stay in this house (the same one I live in now) for a week. This house actually belonged to my great-grandparents, and it’s special to all of my family. It’s not that it’s large or fancy or worth whole lot of money; it’s really just a small, simple house, a bit rough around the edges these days. Despite those things, it’s rich in memories for all of us, and I feel very blessed that my dad was able to bring us to live here part-time then, and that I get to live here full-time now.

Anyway, back to then. After about a year of traveling back and forth so frequently, my family stopped and stayed in GA for awhile. This house  lay empty for almost ten years. I remember the first time I brought Dane, then my boyfriend (I think it was 2010) to this house. It was so strange, like it had been frozen in time. The pictures we had kept on the fridge were still there, my old bedroom had an issue of Pointe magazine (I was a ballerina) on the nightstand and the photo I had pinned to the mirror of Josh Groban was still there. It was eerie, to be honest, as if my 14 year old self still existed and had just run out to do something.

And now, even more years later, I live here again, and new memories of my life with Dane and Kora and my Mississippi relatives are layered over those snapshots of time from that year I spent sweet time here with my parents. The fact that my dad has since had a stroke and my mom has passed away makes it seem like much longer ago than a mere 12 years (sometimes, I feel ancient) then there are the other memories-memories from when I was a little kid and I’d come here to see my Mamaw and all of my cousins and I would run around in the yard. There are more stories still, overlapping that–memories that are not my own, but my dad’s, my uncle’s, my aunt’s…stories that didn’t happen to me, but are still a very real part of who I am.

How the heck did I get to this thought-rambling with a mug full of tea (which is now cold, btw)? Here’s how: I bought that mug when I was 14, on one of our trips here.  Somehow it had become buried among my Mamaw’s Christmas mugs in the deepest, darkest corner of the kitchen cabinets. And, despite the fact that we’ve been in this house for over a year now, I only recently re-discovered it.

It just made me think of the way that memories layer themselves. They hide, are found, take on new meanings later.

When I was 14, I’m sure the words “May the road rise up to meet you,” made me think of some grand adventure that I was going to have (my LOTR fandom was at its height), but now those words make me think of what a dreamer I was then and what it felt like to have an open road of possibilities. I think of how life did not turn out the way I thought it would, but how I truly do love my life.

The roads we walk are never predictable, but we have to enjoy them as they unfold, because we only get one  road -I hope I can always stop and look back on the way the memories I’ve created along the way-the gorgeous moments and the tragic ones. Those moments overlap and combine to create one beautiful life that I am grateful for.

Thanks Irish Blessing Mug. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

Spring in Mississippi

In case you didn’t know, Groundhog’s Day was this week.

And Puck-satanu…PUSUTO (Googling this)… Punxsutawney Phil  has declared an early spring.  Does anyone else ever feel like this happens very rarely? For years and years and years, it was just those extra weeks of cold. There’s probably a scientific reason for this that I learned once-upon-a-time, but while I can make myself Google the correct spelling of a groundhog’s proper name, I don’t really feel like mustering up the energy to remember how the seasons work right now. Deal with it.

I’m happy about an early spring, even though it’s not my very favorite  season (autumn is, on strict principal)…. Growing up in the North Georgia mountains, surrounded by trees and a big, beautiful lake, autumn was a signal of adventure. It wasn’t just the crisp chill in the air, the smell of campfire smoke or the fiery leaves, either. Autumn was the time we went camping, autumn was when we could take a break to go meet my grandparents in a cabin in the mountains for our annual, special get-together. I miss autumn in the mountains.

Right now, however, I live in Mississippi. And Mississippi’s Queen of the Seasons is undoubtedly Spring.

The light here changes, illuminating the numerous old gray barns and buildings.  In winter they are old and worn-out, in summer they are white-washed harshly, seeming unfriendly. In the spring, the gold touches them, hinting at their history, their magic. In spring all old things are brought to life again; they have transcended through time, and been born anew.

Mornings of a hundred years ago are freshly evoked: the smell of warm, damp grass and hay, the sunshine on dew-drops in the green fields, and the soothing saltiness of the air that only comes with being not far from the coast.

There is a lush, floral scent, too, hanging on every bush and tree. Gardenias and azaleas mostly, I think, but dozens of other flowers chime in with their own accent fragrances.

For me, there are also the memories of Mississippi springs from my growing up years. The trips we took to visit family for so many years on warm, balmy vacations, the Easters with cousins, running around in gardens, the family meals and something special in the true closeness with these people we only saw a few times a year.

Now I live here, as a grown-up in a whole different place of life. I have that closeness, but it is different now. So many things have changed since then, and the memories I share with my family is mingled with loss and newness and love and freshly found relationships.

Spring, I think, will embrace these changes, because it is, itself, always reminiscent, and always new.

So I’m waiting on the flowers to bloom in the front yard, for the day I can pull my shorts and flip-flops out of storage, for sitting on the porch and inhaling that sweet, country breeze that carries with it the love of a hundred Mississippi springs before this one.

 

 

Autumnal Bucket List

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”-F. Scott Fitzgerald42468017b7b0d0e9dd1cd729cf1820c1

Far be it from me to disagree with F. Scott Fitzgerald on anything, let alone the wonders of the fall.  I could probably write about 199,887 blog posts about why autumn is my very favorite season and how much I love it. I wouldn’t even know where to start, there’s so much autumn love in my heart. Instead, I’d like to share my autumnal bucket list. Continue reading “Autumnal Bucket List”