Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood

Landscape notes. Dark morning, drizzle of rain. The sky lightens to an oyster grey. Tall pine silhouettes become visible, their downed companions brown now, becoming the ground, feeding the babies.

The storm loosened screen walls of the porch billow in the southerly breeze. They will be coming down soon enough, as construction turns them into walls, windows and cased openings, and the porch becomes a dining room.

Three days ago, a bright orange spray-painted rectangle appeared on a tree slightly to the northwest of the flags outlining the addition’s footprint. It signifies the county health department visited and has decreed where the new septic tank must go. There is no sewer system out here in the back of beyond, but there is an area so sandy it won’t hold water, just the ticket for a septic system.

I can hear the rain now. The sky is light in patches, with dark clouds moving quickly across it. Today’s warm rain and thunderstorms are drum majors for a Christmas Eve parade of drizzly cold which may include snow or ice pellets, depending on which weather service one reads. Whatever snow may really be, a Florida Christmas with a little snow sounds more romantic and appealing than one with ice pellets.

Some children I know went to the post office with me two days ago, where my status as an “interesting person” was recertified when a package from Wales was fished out from the stack of mail. The kids, Harry Potterites all, were highly intrigued by the elegant script, stamp, and idiosyncratic address. They were downright dazzled, as was I, by the contents: a hand-crafted card and woven star from a good friend.

“The promise of light is always fulfilled on solstice morn. May you know a promise kept!”  (A portion of the text from my friend’s gift.)

The kids and I then went to a place I know where there is a pond. We ran around on the grass and scared ourselves as the short floating dock swayed. A curious turtle swam our way.

Then we went to lunch. It was “kid’s choice” — I was surprised when their number one “please can we go there” was IHOP. Somehow, I thought the International House of Pancakes had become anachronistic. Could it be the continuing lure of chocolate chip pancakes and root beer for lunch?


The rain has ended for now. I see a brilliant red cardinal sitting in the feeder, holding court with five prosperous looking doves, a popular rector amongst his parishioners.


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