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January 2001

A Scot is a Scot, even unto an Hundred Generations!
January 12, 2018

Firstly, I must go on record as to how much trying to write on any of my devices hampers all thoughts and spontaneity. Never mind it takes so much longer and it is all rushed enough as it is.

The other night it dawned on me that this is most likely the way things will be for awhile. My husband’s health is fragile, unpredictable and scary and once I believed I could never be truly afraid again. Anniversary phenomena is really real; this time in January 2009, beginning with his release from the hospital in time for Christmas only to be right back, released again, and then the whole dying thing and stay in ICU, thus this month is rife with dreams and flashbacks anyway.

His mind and spirit are no different, it is his poor heart, after years of struggling after the saddle pulmonary embolism and resulting embolism showers is now heavily burdened with scar tissue and strictures and the stuff of modern medicine nightmares. At any time, a breathing crisis may and does spring up and treating it hurts his heart further. So, it is very unsettled all the time now, long nights of crisis and near crisis with maybe a few hours of semi-normal.

Now he is helping his friend plan a campaign and his mind is fully engaged and sparking a million different strategies and all the resulting research. Lord knows I can instinctively know how to help but it’s difficult to not worry obsessively as people come over and his phone is hit hard with texts and calls.

Since Robert Burns’ Birthday and our wedding anniversary are fast approaching, we are planning our Burns’ Night Dinner full throttle. I cannot help but laugh at the notion of how many of Himself’s ancestors’ tombstones are spinning at the notion of such an Irish proud man now is firmly dedicated to many Scottish traditions.

Clan Boswell, Clan Taylor, Great-Granddaddy Boswell, in his wonderful voice, telling us little ones, at his feet in his rocking chair, coal fire burning in the fireplace, the heart-breaking tale of the family fleeing, the small silk packet with a piece of tartan and parchment letter, dated, naming names, tucked away in that cave, the heartbreak as that fierce, tender young lady wrote it so, one day, one of us may come back and reclaim what was ours, what was stolen, and is still ours, forver and a day.

Right now I am indulging myself in memories as sleet ticks softly against the windows; listening to “The Banks of Spey,” thinking of that morning when our younger son, home from Centre, after attending several Bluegrass and Celtic music festivals, he was out on our back porch, snow falling like goose feathers from a broken pillow...the tune rose up and floated into the snow filled air and I stopped at the stove, turning to watch the snow and bonfire as that music wafted into the house. He was playing it a bit spiritedly, with a lot of fire and spirit, then slowed it down, and I thought my heart would break into a million shards, for it pierced my heart with razor swiftness.

This past holiday visit, I told him how much I wished he would bring one of his violins and play, for a lone violin/ fiddle is one of the most haunting powerful instruments. I never tired of the boys’s practice and playing their instruments alone or with others when they lived at home. The violin but especially the fiddle music, all Celtic and some Cajun, melted our hearts and set the feet to dancing. No one can keep their feet still then, it is true magic and probably the reason the Catholic Church banned fiddles in Ireland!

As I grew up, there was never any real explanation for much of what was done, on the farm, in the house, the fields, bonfires and I was so surprised when as an adult I was told basic things were pagan. So I learned to keep quiet and just was a bit more careful. All the little things I was taught about the power of the fiddle, the fire and fireplaces and home, the small bottles of creek water carried to Texas, the remaining snippets of old old language, the stories and family history, just cherished them even more.

There is a tiny almost unrecognisable town called Mackville, so named for the many many families whose names began with Mac or Mc, all Lowland Scotts, with some Highlanders too, now it is filled with German descendants and midwestern drug dealers with some Hispanics for good measure, just about all the old families gone. And too many Texans, the wrong kind.

Now, the old families did not lose contact with their people back in Scotland, Ireland, Wales. Many of the most prosperous went back for visits and brought cousins over to this day and that meant family in Canada too.

We have been here a long long time and we know each other when we meet. One of our son’s very best friends from down around Glasgow, we just instinctively understand much I cannot even explain, try as I might. The music, opens doors to telling stories that are mostly history. That helps but with the boys living away, I often despair as to even trying.

As I glance out at the grey skies and tossing limbs of the trees, my heart wanders down back home, the farm still there, strangers in that lovely old White House with a copper roof, far far off the county road, where this time decades ago, I waited for my Papa to return, snow falling thickly, the sounds of violins ringing out over the hills, second breakfast just about ready, looking for all the men, young, old, in-the-middle, coming back to the vast, warm kitchen, fire burning merrily in the brick fireplace at one end, sounds of cattle and sheep being brought back to the barns...

How can we not have our Burns’ Night Supper?




The sleet slowed down and is now lovely, sideways-swirling snow and I hope hope hope it snows all the rest of the evening and night. We managed to lay in supplies, no doctors' appointments for I cancelled the ones today in town.

Himself finally finished the hours of work and research that kept him in here all day and even I was drafted into duty for awhile so the room now is scented from my cups of ConstantComment tea and his coffee and one small beeswax taper in a silver candlestick.

He is resting his eyes on the sofa, a cat at his feet and at his side, atop the deep blue-grey tartan heating blanket, book askew, bookmark on the deep pile of the rug.

Soooo, I sneaked back in here and hope to have a few minutes to check up on journals and answer notes and messages, if any and although I keep running back to check on supper, the falling snow is distracting me terribly.

Not so long ago, an evening such as this meant dressing warmly, donning my boots (the ones our daughter-in-law gave me for Christmas a few years ago), bundling up and heading off to the woods. Following the old deer runs, carefully making my way to the waterfall, frozen and crystalline, moss and fern draped towering rocks going up up up...and find my favourite hiding place back there where the deer, elk, wild turkeys and other animals take refuge. Down there, no one would ever suspect that just over the hills, is a rambling, poorly planned community of beetling glowering McMansions and streets lined with huge vehicles in spite of four and five car garages and strict Neighbourhood Association Rules.

Snowflakes upon my lashes, frosting the knitted hat and long pretty scarf, cheeks rosy with a glow never found in any make-up tube or pot, eyes throwing sparks of sheer delight. Still so many winters to catch up with, so many snowfalls missed, so many hours inside for years and years to keep me inside, even after almost fifteen years back home.

A friend commented to me the other day as she accompanied me into town to provide support and fun, that had I noticed that for over four full months, I really have not been alone or outside wandering at all. (All my close friends are aware of my wandering into the woods during deep snowfalls.Some have come along, we still have wistful plans-hopes to one day or night, wander into a certain cemetery, way back in Irish Hill, we speak of it all the time. Of course, I would dearly love to sneak into Bernheim Forest or Jefferson Forest. The Knobs are some of the most heart-breakingly beautiful forests and this one is the largest urban forest in the country.

My NewestBestFriendForever, reminded me a few days ago, about the Valentine's Day Romantic Retreat this February, a candle lit hike. It ends at the Manor House with big fires and hot cocoa and treats. Be my still my heart, I must go back, we must go back.

Ages ago, I started a story as I made my way through snow-dusted trails under the eldritch glittering moon light, this area has always felt charged to me, cupped between the Bluegrass and Pennyrile regions of the state. Strong energies flow and mix there, and the very air and trees seem alive with stories and memories, witnesses to centuries of forest's secrets.

A place where it seems just about possible to walk into the forest and slip back to times long gone. Or wrinkles in time, gaps between reality.

Ah! Nothing like a snowfall to release all the buried wild romantic, and very other-wordly self.


 
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