Autumn at the Springhouse

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I simply love this time of year. The flaming colors of nature and the cool breezes bring out a longing in me. I yearn for campfires, coffee and a fuzzy blanket to wrap up in.


Over a hundred years ago a great-great-grandfather of mine purchased a rather large plot of land. This property had a couple of small creeks on it and a real good spring with a bountiful amount of water spewing from the ground. Over the past thirty-five years my husband Jerry and I have been able to buy back some of the property that was once owned by my ancestors. The old springhouse rests on one track.


Stories of the springhouse flow from family and all who have lived around the spring. Memories of sitting in the shade as grandma churned butter under the old elm tree. All the trips up and down the hill carrying water to the house. Open fire with a washing tub boiling over it. The smell of bleach after Mrs. Adams cleaned the inside of the springhouse.


For me scenes from my own remembrances surface. Watching my daughter Wendy and granddaughter Emma wade in the creek. Weiner roasts, and Bible school lessons. Walking through the big tunnel that is buried under the road, and catching spring lizards and crawfish. The spring has been home to rope swings, wedding portraits and snow covered rabbit tracks. The weather beaten boards have witnessed a lot of living.


When we purchased the land underneath the springhouse almost thirty years ago it was so grown up around it you couldn’t even tell there was a structure underneath all the honeysuckle and wild rose bushes. Jerry and I sat into cleaning up. A chainsaw, ax and sling were put to work and the treasure that we uncovered remains today. Though the foundation is weak and the tin roof rusty, it still stands.


I did however make a major mistake years ago. I planted two weeping willow trees along the creek, one above the springhouse, and the other on the lower side. One of them died so I broke a limb off of a willow in my daddy’s yard and stuck it down in the edge of the creek to root. It now stands high over the creek bank. Stretching up toward the heavens, then sadly falling to the ground. It’s spindly limbs kissing the soft grass. I think willows are so beautiful but never, ever, plant one near a spring.


The willow roots have invaded the inside of the springhouse choking out the natural flow of water. The spidery webs have reached in and shifted huge rocks that had been in place lining the spring hole for better than a century. I really messed up.


Last week while I was working down at the spring I wondered if I could un-do what I did all those years ago. A neighbor told me that if I cut down the willows the spring would return back to normal. Does anyone else know if this is true? Because now, I not only love the old spring, I also love the willows. It would be a “weeping” shame to see them go.


The spring is a thinking place for me. When I’m there I wonder about life. Where I’ve been and where I might be going. I think of the lives that spring has touched. The thirsts of many have been quenched from its waters. The spring has sustained life, for to live without water is impossible. Oh how we take the simplest things for granted.


Last week while cleaning the filth from the creek bed I suddenly felt old. I wondered: If I died today would I have any regrets? Is there something I haven’t done that I should have? The first thing that came to mind was: I haven’t sat and watched the creek enough times, or listened to its flow. I have a problem sitting still. There is always something to do. Maybe that’s why I enjoy writing so much. I have to be still.


While visiting the springhouse last Thursday I realized that it isn’t just Fall of the year, it’s the fall of my life. There is a lot of living under my belt and much more I hope, but there is one thing I know for certain, the wisdom of the old springhouse spoke to me last week. It said: “You better be doing the things you want to do, and stop doing all the stuff you think you have to do.” Great advice don’t you think? Who knows what those whispering willows might tell me… if I’ll just be still and listen.





{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Rita October 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Sarah,
WOW!! I have cold chills. What a wonderful blog! You taught me many things during my Tribune days and you continue to teach me.

Thank you!!

Dare October 10, 2011 at 3:54 pm

I look back over the past thirty years and realize how quickly the days have gone by. I have filled my days with work and things that never really mattered. I wonder if or how I will be remembered. I pray today that I will not take tomorrow for granted and will touch someones life every single day. God, thank you for Sarah and how special she is to me.

Starr October 10, 2011 at 4:49 pm

I am ahead of you in the “Autumn of Life” and I find myself doing the things I have to do out of necessity, and longing for the day when I can do the “things I want to do”. Even though I work so much, I realize I truly need to slow down/stop and recognize how fast life is going. Thanks for this wonderful reminder.

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