Monday, August 24, 2009

Look under the Leaves

Sometimes I forget just how lucky I was being raised on the farm. My dad offered me an unusual education. Those lessons now are carried down to another generation. I doubt that Dad realized the impact he made on this child who shadowed him. A walk with Dad was always an adventure.

I vividly remember walking across a barren field with Dad when he stopped, motioning me closer. With a gloved hand, he turned back some old brown leaves exposing a hollow filled with fur. Gently he lifted the fur. Nestled there in this soft crib were tiny, brown bunnies barely covered with fur, eyes still not ready to see the world. Little ears were perfectly formed and tiny pink noses twitched. A treasure unseen, hidden away.

He taught me how the killdeer will feign a limp just to lure predators away from her fledglings; to sit for hours with fishing poles in hand watching a silent pond as Dad pointed out birds, bugs and trees. He taught me to rub mint between my fingers savoring the aroma; to look beneath broad leaves to find the hidden bloom of the ginger plant. We laughed at the jack-in-the pulpit sitting on his throne and the violet hiding the king as he soaked his feet in a tub. I learned to recognize a shag bark hikory and that buttercups reflected beneath my chin. I could drop pebbles into a crawdad hole and hear the water kerplunk or watch a dung beetle roll perfectly round balls toward his home.

 I learned patience. I learned to be observant. I learned that my world was mystical. Most of all I learned lessons on how to protect my own at any risk, to look for beauty where none seemed apparent and to appreciate nature and all of her mysteries. Quality time with Dad was a gift.

Remember, you might not know what lies under the leaves until you lift them and peer beneath. Perhaps you will find something beautiful.

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1 comment:

Janet Rhoades said...

Since I live on Neff Road, this should be fun. As you know, Pam, I have lived just down the road from "home" for nearly 50 years. What started out as the "newly weds" on Neff Road, has turned in to "grandpa and grandma" to all the "kids" on Neff Rd. Many of the residents now are the kids that went to school with our children. What a joy to have all of them close by. Can't wait to read more about your memories of home.