Monday, May 2, 2016

May Morning



God passes through the thicket of the world,
and wherever his glance falls he turns all things 
to beauty.  St. John of the Cross




Monday morning
 By Elece

Monday morning and the sky is overcast after three lovely sun-filled days––like a semi-colon in spring. I suppose that the spring has passed and we are in early summer, but I love spring so much, I cling to it.

Birds are busy at the feeders, singing, and building nests. The barn swallows have already finished their new homes under the eaves of the porch. 

Monday morning and a light rain is dripping from the roof and trees. There are rain drops beaded up on the iris leaves and the faces of my roses. 


May has arrived and the whole world has turned violently green––shockingly green––startlingly green. To look back in my mind and winter's leafless trees and the brown lifeless grass seems unreal––could they have been? 

My coffee is strong and hot and dark. It is like sipping muscle––cured my morning headache and wakes me from the night's hold. 

Hugs and "I love you, Mama." from my children this weekend has lifted my soul. So often the house feels empty without these people whom I have held so close for the years. It does me good when they come home and hug me.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

As Seasons Change

To every thing there is a season and a time for every purpose
 under the sun. Ecclesiastes 3:1


 
   As the seasons change, I wonder how many seasons of my life remain. How long any of us has left in this life is an unknown, but most likely there are many springs and summers, autumns, and winters ahead for me. 
   
Still, I feel the narrowing of time and I know my youth is past and even most of my summer years. I am starting into my autumn. I know there are many autumn things to love.
  
Summer with all its long super-heated days, days of play and outdoor work are past, days when a woman knows her place and feels right in it, robust days filled with shout-out-loud joy and run-in-the-sprinkler laughter, days of being, not becoming, but being who you are and not of going but having made it there days.
  
 Summer is a filled to full time when all we want in life, what we wished for when children, hoped for when teens, and finally fell into in our twenties is there. Since we were told this is what all our years of schooling are to prepare us for, what is there for us once we pass those star-studded happy days?
  
 Empty nest syndrome is where we find our parenting days in recession, melting away and our adult children trundling off across the playground like curious toddlers, in our eyes—still kids—but we know different. So we let them go and leaves begin to dry and lose their hold on our branches. 

And that is how it should be and how it happens to most of us Mamas. We find we need the rest and enjoy the changes, the spare time, the quiet evenings with no baseball practice, no requests for outings or rides here and there.
  
Then we find a little of our inner child still alive and a bit fragile from lack of exercise. "Come on out," we hear and we begin to say it to ourselves, our shy selves.
  
Gradually our colors change and we begin to show our brightest sides—oranges, reds, yellows, purples still among our greens. It is the time to find ourselves and drink in the scents and sights of the season.
  
Do you smell the apples ripening on the hill? Do you see the bright pumpkins in heaps and piles for sale beside the road? Do you hear the wind in the night change its tune and after all the rustling and swishing and swaying in the wind move down an octave on the keys?
   
Soon we see the leaves begin to fall.
  
Leaves begin to flutter and fly in the winds of these changing times and they settle to the ground. The trees feel bare and some folks wonder if they are dead, but they are just passing into the next phase of life, the next season. There is much life yet to live and much growth and change to come.



Change is the nursery of music, joy, life, and eternity.
John Donne



©2014 Elece Hollis, author of A Celebration of Family, from the Helen Steiner Rice Collection.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Poetry and Ax Handles


"Making an ax-helve is like writing a poem. The material is free enough but it takes a poet to use it. Some people imagine that any fine thought is poetry, but there was never a greater mistake.

A fine thought, to become poetry, must be seasoned in the upper garrets of the mind for long and long, then it must be brought down and slowly carved into words, shaped with emotion, polished with love. Else it is no true poem. "

From Adventures in Contentment chapter 5 The Ax-Helve, by David Grayson








Friday, August 9, 2013

A Dream of Friends



      The room was full of people. People crowded in chairs at rows of white clothed tables. I sat at the end of one of the center rows, turned sideways in my chair to spoon feed a baby in a highchair.
      The room was alive, voices raising and a constant current of conversation mingled spurts with laughter and an occasional baby or toddler fussing. Overall it was just the happy sound of people eating together. 
      I saw her headed toward me and I  was glad to see her. She had a determined gleam in her eye as she carefully and slowly navigated around people and conversations, and chairs and dishes and spills. She kept coming and she got slowly closer until she was standing beside the highchair. I gave the baby her final spoon of food and smiled at my friend, my dear, long-time, from the first minute we met friend, Barbara Rauls.
      She stepped closer and leaned over and kissed me on the cheek and said simply "I love you," turned and headed out of the room.       
      "Wait," I called after her. Leaving the baby in the charge of a friend, I followed after her to her car in the parking lot to give her a hug and to say a proper goodbye.
      Then in an empty space, cameos—appeared  with the faces of many of my friends from over my sixty years. I saw Mary Ruth Stevens and heard her sweet perky voice say "I love you." Then others friends from my past in Oklahoma: Linda Gaunt, and Cindy Hoover, Pamela Wedel saying "I love you."And from my years in Louisiana: Bonnie Hollis, Linda Doughty, Pamela Calish, and Judy Mock. Each said, "I love you" and in the dream their voices each sounded so familiar, so real and near. 
      Then my friends here in Oklahoma again Shelley Boland, Ronee Jordan, Valerie Wright, Rebecca Lee, etc. They each appeared, said I love you, and then faded. 

      It was a happy dream—a wonderful dream, because I knew when I woke what I had known all along. I was loved. I had friends from way back long ago and right up to the present that loved me.

Friends are friends forever.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


“But an empty shell, like an empty nest, invites day-dreams of refuge."
-- Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space:  The Classical Look at How We Experience Intimate Places








Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Home Away from Home

My grandchildren, four of them and their mother, my oldest daughter, have come to to stay with us awhile while they resettle in the US. They have lived several years in Mexico City and returned to us to start over without their "Poppy" who has drinking problems and been abusive. To start over in a new place with a new language. Oh, my how hard it will be.

So far, they have enjoyed getting to know their aunts and uncle and grandparents and cousins. The oldest only having retained any memories of us and the farm. They seem to love the quiet and peaceful countryside and the family, clean warm beds, warm baths, new toys, books, and plenty of new foods.



The little boy Bryan, just three-years-old, loves his Abuelo, who he now calls "Grand-pa Pecan". We have pushed the children on the swings and played and run and picked up pecans in the back yard. They have eaten ice cream with Grandpa, leaned to bow their heads and listen quietly for a prayer around the table at supper each night, and pronounce with him the "Amen." They love to play and wrestle and say, "I love you" with Grandpa and the uncles, Alton, especially, whom all the children always love.

This morning the house was chilly. The porch thermometer read thirty degrees. The sunlight slanted in yet it is cold light. I piled logs in the woodstove atop a bed of hot coals and soon a fire was burning bright and the room beginning to heat up.We had comfort coming!

Three of the children are playing in the floor here now, one with a box of dominoes, one with toy cars and another with blocks. The sun spills in on the carpet. It is good to have them here safe and sound after such a fiery time they have come through and after the hard journey over so many miles, three long hard days traveling to Oklahoma. There was danger, fear, and weariness. There was sickness and doubt and there was trauma, but God brought them through it all.

This was one of those times when trials burn like threatening wild fires, like house fires, forest fires, not comforting woodstove fires. Fires like the times when someone is very sick, when the car has broken down, a hurricane is raging nearer, or a job is lost. They are fires we fight like one last year when the drought dried grasses out back burst suddenly into moving thriving flames. Fires we have to survive.



When these fires burn we turn to our God who guides us, who protects us, who comforts us, and supports us. He is our refuge and our consolation through those raging fires. He brings us back to safe places where we can sit and rest in the warmth of love and know He is with us.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Few of my Favorite Things



 Pink roses. Always bouquets at my house. I love flowers.


 Hummingbird chimes in my garden bedroom.


 Morning Glories climb my garden gate.



 Yellow flowers and sea shells are some of my treasures.



 Calligraphy by my daughter, Delaney, with one of our favorite 
scriptures about children seated round about the table 
like young olive shoots.


 My bird dish from Michigan, a blue pot of African Violets, sea shells, rocks, sunshine


 Books, books, books, books Some of these I helped write!


 A glass paperweight on my desk


 Sunflowers from my yard




 Milk warmed to make yogurt. I love to cook.


 Cookbook and tomatoes in a  bowl


 Baskets are filled with apples and pears from the orchard. At our house we love fruit.


At my house roses are a must!


Mama loves dried flowers and plants


Planter and garden vines



Our favorite pet, Ginger


Fresh peaches from Porter


 Cantaloupes and tomatoes from our garden


Pretty dishes
 I love dishes like my retro yellow bowl and my plaid platter, 
yellow Frankoma,
 Marshall pottery (pitchers, crocks, and bowls) and USA Hull brown pottery.


 The supper table with a pork roast and garden salad and watermelon.