The Evergreen Journal #20 — Moonflowers & Childhood Stories –
June 24, 2022
My thoughts take me to summer days and the pleasure of lounging on a glider on our front porch.
Our small village is known as Frisco, a little neighborhood outside Ellwood City in western Pennsylvania. Our family of four children and our parents lived in a comfortable old home on Harmony Avenue.
In our back yard, we had an elegant black walnut tree, where I loved climbing up into its branches and watching the world beneath me. The tree was close to the pathway that separated the two divisions of my father’s vegetable garden. On the borders of Dad’s garden, he planted moonflowers. The flowers are white and about six inches wide. The fragrance begins at dusk, and it smells like orange blossoms. On a moonlit night, they seem to glow in the dark.
I was thinking today that next summer, I will have moonflowers blooming at my home. Each year I plant a new type of flower. Yes, I must have some moonflowers!
Read more about Moonflowers and see photos
Today, I am thinking about the front porch and its secluded nature. The porch’s banisters hid me as I stretched out on our glider with a book in my hands. Once I was reading in my sacred place, I was taking journeys to distant lands as I turned the pages of my book. This is where I read books every day. They were books that I gathered each week when our mother took us to the library in town. This was where dreams are born in a child’s mind through the books I was reading.
Reading in the evenings was at the core of our family night ritual. Our mother sat on the side of the bed, and one by one, Mom took requests from the four of us as to what books we wanted her to read to us that night.
I carried the tradition of this nighttime ritual into my own family life many years later.
Reading to my children began right after I brought them home from the hospital. Our first daughter, Salome, was a little baby in her chair, and I put it on the kitchen table. I sat down beside the table and began to read my own books to her. She was an infant – yet, I read Shakespeare to her out of my treasured book of Shakespeare’s collected writings. As our family grew, we continued reading in the evenings. Even into our children’s teen years, we had a little circle in the family room in the evenings. I read books aloud to them and we had lots of laughter and discussions. Reading was a core element in my parenting practice. Reading books and praying together at bedtime, was our evening time together.
Reading is a habit we can teach our children as we model the joy of reading for them.
©Lynda McKinney Lambert, June 24, 2022. All rights reserved.
Below, I’ve included a story by Ranier Maria Rilke, my favorite poet.
What do we know about Rilke’s childhood after reading this short story?
What would YOU choose to write about in your own childhood memories of summertime?
It would be good to give much thought, before
you try to find words for something so lost,
for those long childhood afternoons you knew
that vanished so completely -and why?
We’re still reminded-: sometimes by a rain,
but we can no longer say what it means;
life was never again so filled with meeting,
with reunion and with passing on
as back then, when nothing happened to us
except what happens to things and creatures:
we lived their world as something human,
and became filled to the brim with figures.
And became as lonely as a sheperd
and as overburdened by vast distances,
and summoned and stirred as from far away,
and slowly, like a long new thread,
introduced into that picture-sequence
where now having to go on bewilders us.
~Rainer Maria Rilke
Read Lynda’s April Newsletter for the SCOOP on what she has been doing for the past three months – Read it NOW.
Bio: Lynda, a retired professor, authored 5 published books that focus on spare poems and thoughtful personal essays.
Lynda cares for 2 dogs and 6 cats, all rescued. Lynda’s predilection is nature, fine arts and humanities.
Lynda is married to Bob Lambert and they celebrated sixty-one years of marriage in April 2022.