Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Time to Talk

And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don't stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven't hoed,
And shout from where I am, 'What is it?'
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

Robert Frost

Today I delivered our local Christmas cards and some newsletters too; a simple enough task. Shouldn't take all day... My route was planned and I laid them out in neat piles on the passenger seat of the car - a plan which failed at the first bend of our narrow lane when an 'emergency stop' sent my filing into the footwell and complete disorder. No matter - we'll busk it.

'Easy-peasy,' I thought as I slipped the first few cards through letterboxes - nobody's home. I was sniffed at by muddy farm dogs - which proceeded to pee nonchalantly but with purposeful dog-reason against the car wheels to spread their dog-messages the breadth of the parish. I was snorted at by beasts in barns, their heavy breath hanging in misty clouds before their kind faces - but I met no one. Marton could well have been the Marie Celeste of villages. Easy-peasy indeed.

Nope. Not far up the road it appears this is not going to be the case. Up the road everybody was at home and everybody was going to be sociable:

'Coffee? Or tea perhaps? Go on - have a small sherry.....'

I can barely push open a garden gate or negotiate the pot holes on a lane before I am offered refreshment. I chat. I drink coffee - most welcome. I chat some more. I avoid tea. No, I won't come in thank you. More coffee? Sherry? - no thanks - later perhaps. Chatter. Lunch - No, no, I'll let you get on. Tea? Another time thank you. Finally I sit with the ancient Mrs T, who opens the door with hands floured from the pastry bowl and we talk for a while of this and that, her hands getting less and less floury as she winds them in her lap. It is very peaceable in her kitchen; a kitchen clock ticks and there's a vague electrical hum which might be the cooker or a fridge. I sense mince pies. I could sit here for quite a while. I could probably go to sleep. I am all talked out.

Talk - that's what I have mainly done today. Talked of nothing of any real consequence but made the chit chat that binds a community together - a bit like that farm dog peeing on the car tyre.

It doesn't matter, does it, that there are a hundred and one pressing tasks to do before dusk? Cliche or not, it's good to talk.


Pam said...

You have inspired me. I had intended to sneak out after dark and post mine but will now try and be a bit more sociable. Loved the poem.

Wipso said...

Reading your blog made me smile today. You decided to put the jobs on the back burner while you spent your time chatting etc with your friends and neighbours. Life should be full of special days like that. It reminded me of the poem called Priorities. My house certainly had a good layer of dust while I enjoyed my children growing up...that was my excuse and I'm sticking to it...and now thankfully I have a beautiful new grand daughter to give my dust time to settle again.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful blog. It brings back some wonderful memoriers of our visit to your picturesque home. Debbie

Calico Kate said...

Oh I did enjoy your blog Mountainear, & the poem. There are days that one needs to just 'be' in the now. And then to not feel guilty about it. I have only recently learned to do this and am enjoying it.

pinkfairygran said...

It all sounded so rustic and calm and a lovely way to pass a few hours. None of my cards are delivered to people home during the day, and if they are, it's sleeping off a night-shift (policewoman), caring for an elderly relative with dementia and making it clear there's no time for chat during the day, or working from home. So I shall stick to the sneak out in the dark method. Never feel guilty about the things you have done, only those that you have not done... so enjoy the jobs being put on the back-burner for a while.

Angel said...

What a lovely blog. And what a lovely day you had delivering and socialising. Just how it should be.

Best wishes to you and yours for a Happy Christmas and hope to meet up soon in 2009

LittleBrownDog said...

That's lovely, mountainear. Lovely to hear while all and sundry are whizzing around, not really making contact with anyone, you're actually communicating with people, which is what Christmas should really be about. Sounds like you've got a lovely community there.

Sally's Chateau said...

Sounds a perfect day to me, but oh to walk into someones kitchen and breathe in the smell of mince pies.

Frances said...

I surely did enjoy going along with you on your route, dogs and all. What a reminder of just which minutes make up sweet memories.


Pondside said...

Thanks for taking me along on your deliveries. I like the thought of all that talk - it's all about connection, being part of a community and what so many people long for.
I also got caught up on your last few posts. Shopping and eggs - sounds like my life sometimes!
It was good to visit, and I loved that Frost poem.

Elizabethd said...

What a super poem, one to remember.
I loved your visit to Mrs T, and I'm sure she did too.
It's not about what we give, it is about taking the time to give of ourselves, I think. As you were doing.

Nikki-ann said...

I hope "the ancient Mrs T" doesn't know you call her that!

Nan said...

Right out of a Miss Read book. I so loved reading this. And esp. the flour on her hands, and the feeling in her kitchen. I think your day is one people long for.

david mcmahon said...

I was raised on the poetry of many gifted writers, Robert Frost among them.

You have hit the nail on the head. The key to life and appreciation of it is ....

time to talk.

Pipany said...

That was lovely Mountaineer and a great reminder to slow the pace. It is what it should all be about anyway xx

Anonymous said...

A beautiful post of what seemed to me as I travelled those roads with you-a wonderful way to catch up with good neighbours and friends.

Thanks to David and his POTD for pointing me in your direction.

Sandi McBride said...

Robert Frost...a heaven sent poet at any time of the year...thanks for reminding me...and your post is as lyrical as a poem and I love how the dogs send their messages and greetings upon the wheel of your tires...loved this post...I have to thank David, this is one of the best Post of the Day Nominations yet!

elizabethm said...

I am sure I commented on this but no sign! you had reminded me to slow up again.
lovely blog and hope you have a great Christmas.