Today on my walk/run, I spied some marigolds. And POOF….a file cabinet in the attic of my mind sprang open and out popped South Dakota! My thoughts were immediately flooded. Marigolds will always remind me of South Dakota.
Coming back to America from living overseas for two years, we were longing to be stationed close to home (home being Atlanta Georgia), and the family and friends of our youth. Instead, we found our selves moving to South Dakota, the geographical center of the good old U.S. of A. We once again took on the moniker of strangers in a strange land. Our new home was on an Air Force Base outside of Rapid City in a flat, dusty, dry, hot, and colorless place. SO…. I planted marigolds….tons of them….right next to our front door! I wanted to capture the essence of a southern landscape and add it to our surroundings. Looks are deceiving. Embedded in the beautiful hues of oranges, yellows, and reds resides a really noxious aroma. It must be experienced to be adequately understood. We eventually came to laugh about my gaffe as we would begin our countdown prior to opening the door. Comings and goings were executed by holding our breath and running, until we were downwind. We were perfecting a new form of cardio workout. I have since learned that their odor is a natural insect repellent. Serendipity! So who knows what insect disasters I might have sidestepped with my botanical ignorance. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
To the untrained eye, South Dakota was a blip on the radar screen of our lives, save for the monumental fact of welcoming our youngest son into the world. ( No need to thank us for that place of birth, Young Son! We know that it gives your story a bit more caché .) But when I dig a little deeper, there were a few other things that forever etched itself into the timeline of our lives in this far from home mid-western state. We were living in a house with ALL of our belongings out of storage for the first time in 2 and a half years of marriage and we really felt as if our grown up passport was getting another stamp. We bought our first hose together, which is significant to me on so many levels. People think I’m crazy and laugh when I say this, and I have never been able to adequately verbalize how this small act represented something really BIG for me. We were also gifted with our very first washer and dryer! Anyone who has had to go to a laundromat with a baby and a toddler, in tow, can empathize with the enormity of this treasure! HUGE! These things made it real…we were creating a real life together…a life that needed tools (both physical and metaphorical)….a life that was more than just about wants, but also about needs….it was the excitement of many firsts that we would experience together. It is the little things that together build a life. They are tiny bricks in a great wall, but without them, something would have been missing.
So, marigolds….thank you….for the reminder you gave me this morning of some of those precious little bricks in the wall of my life for which I am so thankful!
“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart” ~ Winnie the Pooh