Monday, August 22, 2011

CLOUDY MEMORIES...

O it is pleasant, with a heart at ease,
Just after sunset, or by moonlight skies,
To make the shifting clouds be what you please.
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge-

 I was sitting quietly on the farmhouse porch when I saw him making his approach just beyond and between the Silver Leaf Maple and the old Sweet Gum trees.  He looked quite jolly with his puffed up cheeks, upturned nose, and mouth drawn up into and "O" as if he were whistling a merry tune.  I watched his silhouette become more distinct as he drifted forward, my mind drifting backward...
On sunny summer days just such as this one Granny would shoo us out of the house and onto the front lawn.  The cousins and I wriggled in anticipation as she approached the old Silver Leaf Maple, quilt tucked under her arm...
There is almost always a strong breeze from the East and it never failed to catch the colorful quilt and puff it out like a parachute.  We made a game of trying to catch the flapping corners and getting it to settle on the ground.  The cousins and I tumbled onto it pouching out the air underneath settling ourselves on our backs while Granny lowered herself onto her favorite old chippy yellow metal lawn chair with just the right amount of bounce to it to act as a rocker.

We waited for Granny's signal of "Now children, what do you see?" and the game of making cloud pictures began.  Still little bodies with eyes focused heavenward as the old as time East Wind blew the billowy cloud formations into shapes.  Little arms shot upwards with fingers pointing and shouting out ensued as each one in turn and sometimes on top of one another pointed to their cloud picture.  
The game was at first played with great exuberance but as our wise Granny knew this would not last for long and a quietness would soon take over and still our wriggly bodies, active minds, and shouting voices.  Nature would do its soothing work of settling and calming us.  The soft feel of the old rainbow colored flour sack quilt acted as a downy cushion against the prickle of the grass.  Its smell of sunshine wafted on the breeze.  As arms grew tired and bodies grew quiet with only the occasional outburst of giggles when a grasshopper decided to use a belly, arm, or leg as a trampoline, the inevitable request and chorus of "Granny tell us story." was always made.

I always requested to hear about Epaminondus and "The Poppy Seed Cakes", one cousin always wanted "The Seven Little Sneezes", and the other "Silly Jack".  As the sun warmed us and the breeze tickled across our skin we listened to the rise and fall of Granny's voice.  Once those tales were told we wanted real stories of when she was a little girl.  Our eyes were still fixed on the sky with the occasional call of a particularly note worthy cloud formation when song requests were made.  "Froggie Went A-Courtin'", "The Old Grey Goose", and my favorite, the haunting old folk tune of "It Rained a Mist".  Granny's voice would fade to a low hum with an accompanying pulsing background song from the cicadas.  The lowing of cattle...
Or smell of a flower...
 
Would drift by our ears and noses as eyes grew droopy, breathing evened, all body motion ceased.  We would each one by one slipped into slumber while Granny sang of "Wynkin, Blinkin, and Nod" sailing off in their wooden shoe.

Returning to the present I still watched him up there in the sky as he drew in a breath, puffed out his cheeks and blew cloudy memories on the breeze.  I pictured him there, Old Man Wind, his profile in the cloud formation just beyond and between the old Sweet Gum and the very Silver Leaf Maple...
Where summer stories, songs, and naps took place.  I thought I could still see us there, Granny, the cousins and I, playing the cloud game under the shivering silver gray leaves.  

The game still had its desired effect, the sun still warmed me and the breeze still tickled my skin.  The cattle gently called to one another in the pasture...
And flower scents still wafted on the breeze....
 My eyes grew droopy, breathing evened, all body motion ceased, as I watched the clouds smooth themselves out and the memory become cloudy,  while the cicadas song rose and fell in the background, it was time for a nap... 
Did you too make cloud pictures as a child?

I hope you each enjoy a special happy memory today!
P.S.  We have been at the farm for several days so I have not been able to read or respond to comments on my last few posts, I will be doing so in the next couple of days.  I did not want anyone to think I was ignoring them.  We can't get internet at the farm.

10 comments:

Angela said...

I did, but I was usually alone...what sweet memories you have.

Kathryn Ross said...

Words can not do justice to how your post today has touched my heart and soothed my mind. How I wish there was time and opportunity to give my students experiences like this. Your granny was a wonder and the scene you describe - a present moment opening the door to past en counters - captivated entirely. Thank you, Sandi! I am blessed . . . and inspired . . .
Joy!
Miss Kathy

Vickie said...

Yes ma'am - I sure did. On one side of our house there was a long terrace, not too steep, but just right for laying on a towel or quilt and looking up at the sky on summer days. The house eaves shaded part of the terrace so we could gaze and guess and still see half of the sky and all its clouds. Sweet memories, Miss Sandy...

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Love your profile picture!

My children and I are always seeking shapes in the clouds. Arizona does indeed have the prettiest sky I have ever seen! :)

Dorthe said...

Dear Sandy- reading this I could feel the sun, and smell the flowers, from your childhood garden- now yours. How lucky you are being able to live through those same wonderful memories- now as and adult-"your" cloud is amazingly beautiful.
Hugs,Dorthe

Gail said...

Wow, you have a wonderful way with words and I was transported! Thank you so much for a wonderful start to my week!

My Blessed Serendipity Life said...

Your writing is so beautiful.
I still see pictures in the clouds.
Hope your day is blessed.

Danielle

Lovey said...

What a beautiful and special post...thank you for the smile...and yes...my cloud pictures revealed Angels and Stairways from Heaven!

Vee said...

Oh yes and now I play the game with the grands whenever we find ourselves waiting in the car for something. It's a delightful thing to do. I wish that I had your grandmother's repertoire.

Cassy said...

Such a nice memories or yours.


Cass from Classical Guitar Lessons

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