PASTOR RICK'S BLOG  

Apr 21

Old Songs By Kathy Darlington

Old Songs
By Kathy Darlington

Where the mountains are tall, the rivers run fast and full...that's where my heart is. Where blue birds flit across pastures, the moon sits round and flat over the pond, and deer sleep in the orchard at night...and the cellar is still full of her old jars of peaches, because maybe deep down in our hearts, we think that if we see the jars, a piece of Grandmother still is with us.

My parents were from Colorado, and that was the first gift -- perhaps the grandest gift -- they would ever give me. The love of the mountains, hiking, a sky bigger than life itself. Whenever we made our trek from southern New Mexico...winding our way through the desert and finally crossing over to Durango...the grandness of Colorado greeted me and the aura in our car seemed to change. Colorado: We were home. A thousand times now I have made the trip and every time I see Colorado through new eyes. It's where my soul finds its solace and rest, where everything beautiful that ever existed comes from -- my own heaven on earth.
High in the mountains, right when you think you couldn't get any higher, more mountains appear. Snow rests on the peaks all year, in some places. When I look at the grandeur of the world, I see miracles all around me, from the millions of stars that emerge in the night sky to the wildflowers that bloom. Boulders spike from the sides of mountains, water rushes down cliffs with fervor. In deep July, the days are hot but the nights are cool, and rain comes in torrents without much of a warning, washing our hearts and minds with pure water and just as quickly, the showers end and the earth cools. That's my Colorado...where the air changes just like that, yet everything is always as it should be...cool and then warm and green and wonderful.

As time goes by, I remember winters in Colorado when the snow would be piled high in my grandmother's yard, and how the light of the moon would cast its light across the ranch, and the pond would sparkle. I remember ice skating with my cousins on that pond, and how in the spring I could see a fox or two at the pond's edge. Back in my grandmother's home, everything was toasty as she kept the wood burning stove burning, all through the night. The scent of bacon in the early morning hours still lingers, as I hear her making breakfast while the rest of us were just starting to awaken. Oh, to have a morning back again, to sit at the little kitchen table with her just once more...

If we're fortunate, we can find pleasant memories in our heart-bank, where we keep good things to go to when times are not what we might want them to be. Memories that can be visited at any time, over and over again, and we don't need to get into a car and go anywhere. We just reach into the back road of our mind and remember. These things I like: remembering the days spent with my grandmother in a green-cool world, my piece of heaven on earth.

There were long, summer days where I'd spend time in the old tree house with my cousin, reading Nancy Drew and Zane Grey books that we had just gotten from the library in town. We'd pick raspberries and eat them with half and half and sugar, and we'd help Grandmother bake carrot cookies, and look forward to the home made noodles that went with the chicken. I ran across her recipe for sourdough bread not too long ago...I saved it, in her writing, and put it
in my recipe box so a part of her would be right there. My cousin found her carrot cookie recipe and sent it to me. We have to make the cookies every so often so we can remember.
I guess all of these memories...Grandmother and my beautiful Colorado...they are old songs that come to life in the form of wind through the trees, laundry flapping on the clothesline, Ralph the bee man who came to check on the hives he kept at the ranch...the songs came to life when the match lit the wood in the winter time, when the rooster crowed on those early summer days, when wind pounded at the back door, rocking the house. The songs are bitter sweet, because they are over. The songs are melancholy, because I will never live them again, in the same way. Still, the songs are hopeful, because they live in me.

Whatever beautiful things we can extract from the corners of our minds, I hope we can do just that: Play it like the beautiful song it was and is, because when we are low and things look bleak -- they will for all of us at one time or another -- we can remember and things will seem, for a little while, as they used to be.

Our minds will relax, our breathing will soften, and anxieties will seep out of us.
I think I'll remember for a little while longer, those songs, those old songs.
Kathy

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