Portrait by a Neighbour
Before she has her floor swept
It’s long after midnight
She digs in her garden
She walks up the walk
Her lawn looks like a meadow,
In the morning when I go out my front door, and I see the first rays of sunlight highlighting the blue chicory which stands in front of my yard, between road and field. I want to yell at the first passerby who goes by, NOTICE the chicory ! See how heavenly blue with a tint of purple she is. And isn't it cool the way she matches the watering cans that I painted, and I didn't know when I painted them, that I was painting them the color of chicory. I only knew that it was a heavenly kind of blue.
Farmer Shaw thought it was too, because he said so the day I had painted the old hand pump out in the front yard the same color. He pulled over to the side of the road in his little red truck, leaned his neck out of the window, and in his enduring gentlemanly, intelligent voice, he proclaimed, " Where did you get that blue! Did you pull it out of the sky?"
But then Farmer Shaw is always doing things like that .One day I hung up a new flag on the post at the end of our lane. The Autumn one with the big red barn, hills and pumpkins. Farmer Shaw drove by and then pulled over . He sat there for a minute, shaking his head back and forth, then he gave me the thumbs up, and said, " That one gets a BLUE ribbon from me."
A blue ribbon? When I entered canned goods at the County Fair, the blue ribbon was the top prize!
And so I wonder if Farmer Shaw notices the chicory between the road and his hay field as he goes by. As it is even a miracle that she got to bloom . She is growing in the edge between meadow and road, where the county crew mows, I expect them to come and trim the edge down any day now, when the word gets out that Duffy road is getting out of hand.
But for now, every morning I am blessed with the sight of her encircling the field as she is, with her frame of blue. And upon closer inspection which I am prone to, I see that the chicory is laced up with white and antique colored Queen Anne, and Flee bane daisy. Wild orange Daylilies are peeking out around her skirts and red clover grows upon her feet.
Sometimes I will pick a bouquet of these meadow flowers to set upon the wood stove in the living room. I think there is something jaunty about putting flowers on a wood burning stove in the summer. As if to say, Oh! Look it is summer! The warmth is free!
I feel so happy when I am out there picking that free sunshine bouquet. The joyful colors wave to me, blue, green, pink, indigo, purple, The grasses sway and winged beings flutter ,weaving in and out, up and down always busy with buzz and hum
The horizon looks so big out there in the field. The sky, looms over my head. Blue, blue sky, and rolling green fields. Way up above there will often be a hawk or a buzzard floating on a current of the eaves.
If I keep on walking through the field along the roll of the hill and to the east, I can be in Farmers Shaws view to the South, which is just like mine, only he is higher up on the hill. Sometimes I just stand there and catch my breath in shortness and in awe. It is like an eagles view and one can see the valleys all around
Once I saw a coyote slinking along the bushes near a creek bed. Deer pass through these fields every dawn and dusk, just yesterday I saw a doe with two little young ones, and once I saw a large strong buck. The Shaw's black and white cattle gather in the streams or along side the hills.
It is always nice to go back over the roll of the field and to see our little homestead there.. It looks so sheltered and whole. Embraced by the huge old grandparent trees of Elm and Maple, Spruce, and Pine .Tucked in sort of, the house almost obscured from view by the leaves on the trees.
It is sometimes then that some neighbor will pass
by, sometimes one of the Shaws , we wave and smile and I imagine that
they wonder a little about the funny lady who lives at the corner of Duffy
road. Her yard spills over with flowers, but yet she goes to the field
and stands and watches the sky and comes home, her skirt full of Queens
Anne's Lace, Red Clover and Blue Blue Chicory.