Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood

First frost of the season. Lou, our chocolate Lab, is eager to get out in it and explore. One more swallow of steaming black coffee and I’m ready, too. All three million olfactory receptors in her nose are on high alert. We head to the woods and enjoy a fine, brisk walk as the sun shoots bright arrows into the dark forest.


This week brings Thanksgiving, the next a visit from a beloved brother and his wife of more than forty years, the next a six-hour drive to one of the best hospital clinics in the world where my dear love and I will go for his six-month lymphoma scans plus annual physicals for us both.

Busy times. Joyful. Anxious.


I began to set the table last night. Today there’s shopping for Thursday’s gathering. Tomorrow a visit to our local farmer’s market for sweet potatoes, yellow squash, new crop pecans and Florida oranges will complete the foraging, and I’ll be ready to cook, clean, and prepare for my favorite holiday.


It’s my favorite for two reasons. One is that  I am lucky to have a naturally grateful heart. The idea of a day set aside for gratitude resonates with me even more than the historical connection. Secondly,  I’m relieved to be almost done with November, the month in which both of my parents died, the month when leaves fall. The desolation of the season smells like wood smoke from a light wood knot and still has power to scorch my tender heart. But I am buoyed by love in my life, and the memory of a sliver of time of childhood perfection that smells like sage, thyme, bay leaves, oranges and toasted pecans.



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