Dear Gentle Readers,
Today is the day we start moving, the packers arrived at 9:15 and are already rolling!! Every move before, I have packed the boxes and this is such a pleasure to have real pros do it for me. We were given 19 days to find a place to live in Bentonville, Arkansas and to pack our house: my exact thoughts on that are not polite enough to put in writing. Layer after layer of memories being wrapped and boxed is like a reverse time capsule. Luckily the young men are really polite and respectful. I will right now without a doubt tout Guardian Movers: Atlas Van Lines. As we have a heat wave index rolling through there is still not enough coffee in the world to keep me awake. And All Blessings to Hawthorn Veterinary for giving us a prescription for Prozac for Sorcha, she is still slightly nervous but her paw nibbling has stopped: love my pup dearly but when she comes for an ear scratch and you also get a hand full of slobber-paws… well it is special.
Last year we had the orb weaver Big Momma at our front door and this year she and Wicked Sister are absent. I guess they knew we were moving. The wet season, as I am calling it, ended right on Summer Solstice and now we are baking here in the Midwest. The areas that flooded are still swampy with water so humidity is amping up to the “Dang it. This is N’Orleans hot!” The night is finally beginning it’s chorus of frogs while slowly building up the cries of a far off owl and the local kestrel. While we were in Bentonville they had a freak weather system move through with rain and storms (Do they follow me??!) so I am hoping to get in the groove soon with the weather and temperatures there. Baby frogs are now hopping about Edwardsville and keeping Sorcha’s mouth off of them is a priority. Last time she caught one I thought “Dang! Well, what is a small raw frog to an eating machine like our “Psycho Potato”. Three days of diarrhea later I found out. The community college campus we walk her on at night is home to a successful catering company and I hope the smells from the tires and a few dropped nibbles here and there are a good compensation for a lack of frogs. Frankly I will miss the Edwardsville area but not St Louis. As a fond and strangely sentimental goodby to E-ville here are some of the better-moments-pictures: Spring time wild violets at our shed, Sorcha in the violets, the White House where Sorcha liked to romp, a rather peculiar tree on the L&C campus, the L&C courtyard with fountain, cool wild mushrooms in yard, three pictures of the AWESOME library, the Autumn light through the tree in front yard, two pictures of delightful idiosyncrasies, backyard snow and COLD, two pictures from part of an Art Extravaganza on the Library lawn, the Lewis & Clark campus on a perfect night, stray flowering weed along Nickel Plate trail, two pictures of the ‘Goat Head’ tree, the amazing doors to Cahokia Mounds Museum, a Spring rain that drenched us for days.
I know that my posts are often cheerful and poetic but recently I had a very upsetting event. Due to migraines and the move I was unable to make the once a year Rock Hound RoundUp. I had written two very large paragraphs expressing my anger and grief over missing out on all the rocks and seeing some of the people I love best. I was truly devastated and enumerated lots of anger and paranoid fears. Y’all I even baked over 6 cakes and breads to take! (So far the bundt style Coconut with Mocha glaze and even the GF Eggnog Butterscotch with Rum have been absolute hits at the husbands office.) Then my computer glitched and days worth of contemplation and catharsis went down the drain and into the electronic grave yard. I took this as a sign. With hindsight we can all thank whatever happened to my old computer.
So weeks have passed and I can openly sing the praises of Benton County Arkansas and the Ozarks! While we have been hit with high temperatures because of Summer, the weather is normally calm and cozy. When there is a rain storm it does Thor proud! I stood in the back yard facing the wind and could feel the gusts and lightening coming down the mountains; the rain was driven so hard the first drops stung my face. At night out little neighborhood is nearly pitch dark even with lamp lights and normally quiet like a stayed and fearless darkness: The evening that the cicadas and crickets came out was like a continually reverberating wave of noise filling the early night.
Our small town of Rogers is blended into Bentonville and together they have put together an open air amphitheater and a water park along with Gabriella’s Panaderia and a farmers market. The food choices are everywhere and comes in second to Chicago, except that there is almost no decent Tex-mex and Mediterranean is piddliin’. The college town of Fayeteville is half an hour away and in reality is ‘just down the road’. Lake Ann has fossils off of a major highway and THE crystals of Arkansas are 2-4 hours away. Two mentors and beloved friends are in Branson, Mo and my brother-in-law’s family is two hours away in Joplin. Our neighborhood is filled with SUVs with camping bumper stickers and real mud on the tires. Every garage seems to be filled with work shops and yard salvage is a rule of thumb. My tortured house plants are finally thriving on the front porch, our dog has discovered indoor cricket hunting, and there is even a mud dauber by the front door.
And now for another installment of Red Angel’s Rise where there is a break in the tension and a new inhabitant of the city is introduced: cont.. *****
It may have been clear that morning but steely clouds had been moving in all evening and the air was now heavy and still. As tired as she was, Mariesha needed the time it would take to get home to clear her head of the worries of the day. The great simplicity and complexity of Cinerarium was that there was more than one street and thorough-fair travelled; Mariesha swung herself onto the outside of a fire escape, climbing agilely to the rooftop. The rain started with the heavy drops of a squall, the shingles and tar-papers of the roof lines turning dark with rain, lit grey by the setting sun. Orienting herself to several of the spires and towers of the City, the young Inspector began to run across the building tops. She threaded her way in a city block of industry through a forest of chimneys; some of faded brick and some of pitted metal, and leaped across the half walls of separated tenement rooms until the warehouse district came on the horizon.
The rain was finer now but in driving gusts, when she came to a hutch of old barrels and waxed canvas. Doves cooed, nestled in weathered grey crates and cinder blocks, safe from the storm and chill drops.
“Billy-O, you home, old man?” Called out Mariesha.
“That you, child… Inspector?” Answered a gruff voice from within.
“Then you come in out of this rain, eh. Pour you a spot of tea.”
“Fair enough,” replied Mariesha as a flap of canvass was pulled aside for her. Inside was a gnarled old man with wisps of patchy grey hair and a seven-day beard of white. He was sitting on an old cot piled with patched and brown blankets, beside him a spirit lamp was barely lit with a dented teapot still steaming on top. Bill-O brushed off a sturdy crate for her and she sat down arranging her dripping scarlet cloak around her to dry.
“Here you go, lass, drink sumpthin’ to keep you warm,” his hands shook as he poured tea into two tin cans. Mareisha stretched her legs out across the tarpaper and listened to the rain hit the canvass above her.
“So how goes the pigeon brood, Mr Billy-O?”
“Maevis Lavendar is re-feathering her nest… lots of paper bits.”
The young Inspector sipped the hot tea, “Another clutch then?”
“O’ aye, I ‘spect so. Pa’ticular she is. Not like Ms. Opal, she‘ll pick jist about anything fer nesting.”
“Sold him, I did. Fer a pretty penny too,” Billy-O chuckled into his cup, “He’ped me feather ma’ oown nest he did.
Knee ‘as been ticken’ on me a bit.”
“But the weather is still holding out for you?” asked Mariesha, remembering how the seasonal storms could grow chill and wet: Cinerarium standing alone in stone and steel to catch the raw winds from the plains.
“Good enough fer me but as I kin smell sulfa’ and ash in ta’ air. North East it is.”
“The brood not cotton’en to it?” Mariesha showed actual concern over this, giving the old man’s sense of smell some credit over the normal smoke and cinders.
“Not a bit ‘o it.” Billy-O shook his head. “But I do ma’ best to comf’it them.”
Mariesha nodded, silently assuring him that she surely thought he did. They talked until her can was empty of tea: speaking of rheumatism, prevailing breezes, the quality of bread crusts, and the movement of the stars.
Finally Mariesha’s boot soles were dry and the scarlet cloak had shed most of its water and the old man stretched out his arms yawning, “Well now, I ‘spect a hard worken’ Inspector sich as you has better things to do than talkin’ to an old man lack myself.”
Mariesha set the can down, “Not really, not for you Mr. Billy-O but I do have some books to search through. And Skylar needs dinner.”
“Oh, aye, ye’r bundle o’ joy,” the old man chuckled.
“Aye,” Mariesha agreed. “Look after yourself old man. I’ll be back this way soon enough.”
“Same yerself lassy. Ol’ Billy-O will be here.” cont…. *****
Gentle readers, as I am still wading through boxes and books, fabric, and of course rocks I send you all my love and thank all who peruse my musings and my story. May God hold you in the palm of his hand and the Sophia shower you with love,