I’m spending a few days with my daughter and her wife in Atlanta, trying to rest a bit and ready myself for the demands of early summer that will be waiting for me when I get back to Homer. I’m fully enjoying my time here and doing a pretty good job of not thinking too much about the nettle I could be harvesting or the potatoes I could be planting or the holes I could be digging back at home. In reality though, it’s a decent time to be gone. The last remnants of winter will likely be gone by the time I’m back.
From the guest room I’m staying in I see Adella and Ally’s backyard garden and a wall of deciduous trees. It’s still cool enough here at night to sleep with the windows open and last night a thunder storm startled me awake and this morning I woke to a serenade of birdsong and rooster crows. You wouldn’t know that there’s a major freeway just a couple miles away or that 6.2 million other people live nearby, but it’s true.
Last night we strolled around the neighborhood for a while. We passed a grafted tree that grows plums, peaches, apricots and nectarines. We stopped a couple of times to smell the Japanese honeysuckle and again at the bridge to look down on the creek that runs the length of the neighborhood. Last spring we hopped Adella and Ally’s backyard fence to go foraging around the creek and found cleavers, turkey tail mushrooms, wild garlic, plantain, roses and dock.
While we were out walking we ran into neighbors Philip and Sylvia and their two daughters. The last time I’d seen them was at Adella and Ally’s wedding last July. Now their baby is walking and their toddler is talking. Philip takes a trash bag with him on their evening walks and was happy to report that it takes much longer to fill a bag than it used to.
This morning after coffee we looked in on the tomato plants and pole beans which are taking off as the days get warmer. The spring greens are in their prime. We pulled a couple of garlic to check on their progress. Last July when we came for the wedding I brought some comfrey root from our Alaska garden to plant here in this Georgia yard. Like our daughter, it’s adjusted just fine to this warm climate.
Had my daughter not moved here I might never have visited Georgia, but now I’m happy to have this place to return to. So much of what I love about my five acre home in Alaska is what I love about here. There are wild plants to forage, trees and birds to identify. There are seasons to track and weather patterns to learn.
The forecast is predicting a high of 88 degrees this afternoon so our big plans for the day are to sit in the shade and sip on sun tea. Later when it cools down we might head into the woods behind the house for a look around. Tonight when it starts to get dark we’ll keep an eye out for fireflies and watch the tops of the trees for bats. Mostly we’re enjoying our time together. It’s a short trip this time and it’s going by too fast.
It may look like I’m not doing much to fill these fast days, but I am. I’m busy filling my heart to its brim with this place and these two women. I’m gathering and storing and filling my reserves with all that our time together has to offer in hopes that it will sustain me through until our next visit.