Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Why Am I Here?

When the sun returned today I sat out on the deck for a while to bleach out some of the stains left on my soul by three days of rain. My mind drifted as it often does and I asked myself - "Why am I here?" Not to get existential and all, but simply why am I here....in Empire, Alabama on a small farm with fruit trees, wild birds, seven dogs, a beautiful wife and a pickup?
I've had many opportunities in my life. I worked construction in Florida just after I got married but I quit after a while. It wasn't the work, but the place just didn't feel right. After I started to work with the phone company, I could easily have been like many of my friends and co-workers and moved south of Birmingham but again it just didn't seem to fit.
After sitting for a long while, I decided to take a walk back towards the barn and as I walked the sun filtered down through the newly forming canopy of oak, hickory, and poplar trees and I spotted the first hint of a bloom on one of the thousands of dogwood trees on our property and I remembered "why I am here."
I first walked on this property back in the early 70's. It was this time of year. Someone had told me that Lily Mae Hamrick, wanted to sell the land. I drove up during my lunch hour from my job at The Community News and walked around. It was a warm day and I could see bees and butterflies scurrying around in frenzy. I sat on the bank of a small spring fed creek that runs through the property and it felt like I was in heaven. Since that day, I knew that I loved this place.
We were broke as the 10 Commandments then and I was afraid that the land would slip away....be sold to someone who would cut the timber, scrape it flat and fill it up with junk cars....but as luck would have it, we told Jilda's dad about the property and he did have money and he bought it because he fell in love with it too. When he passed away, it was his wish that we get the land and Jilda's mom honored that wish and we have lived here since 1980.
Our house is small by today's standards, but it is just right for two people who love dogs, squirrels, bees, butterfly's and lots of trees. Especially those dogwood when the bloom this time of year.

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