In my mind, she was nearly bigger than life.
As the gravel road escorted us to Andalusia Farm, my heart pounded with hints of insignificance, and self-doubts began peppering my soul.
|photo courtesy of Roxane Salonen|
Why am I here?
What do I have in common with a 39-year-old single woman who died of Lupus?
How can I relate to this woman of such deep Catholic Faith?
Where do I fit in with this literary genius, when my work is limited to much smaller venues?
I haven't even read all of her works..........
But, as the white clapboard house emerged from the dense jade thicket, my pulse slowed. I breathed easier.
Modest, I thought.
In the distance, a worn cabin of sorts; home for the farmhands. Simple, unassuming.
We wandered the 'Hill House' initially, inhaling generations of travail, sweat and nourishment, accompanied with the grit that comes from working the soil from dawn to dusk. The walls decorated with the news of the day, splattered with lofty dreams of flying, modern conveniences and luxurious automobiles.
A single bulb suspended from the ceiling to light their way to the wood burning stove and paltry refrigerator--but, it was enough. They needed little back then.
Despite the sparseness, a concert of bird songs drew us to the back porch, where we listened in silence until we nearly recognized their words. Bird Sanctuary-courtesy of Roxane Salonen
Satiated, we continued to the rubble that was once the Nail House, the Dairy Barn and milking parlor, and it was then we heard him, the same screams that annoyed Flannery's neighbors so long ago when she had approximately 50 peafowl roaming the farmland.
Manley Pointer, the resident male peacock in full plumage, "eyes" on his feathers splayed and beckoning us forward, almost challenging us to take a photo. But, he was toying with us; for as we raised our lenses toward him, clicked on our cameras, he withdrew and the eyes formed a long narrow trail behind him.
Cocking his head, he appeared to take pleasure in our frustration. Two peahens emerged from the back of the cage as if to reassure us that Manley's behavior was quite common.
For a long while, we were mesmerized by this magnificent creature, with his iridescent sapphire head proudly tracking our movements.
Despite their noisiness, it is obvious why Flannery was smitten with her beloved peafowl, and why I am now as well. Though they serve no real purpose in this purpose driven world, they reflect a smattering of God's beauty, just for beauty's sake.
When we are offered brief moments in our lives such as this, where our breath is taken away...even for an instant, I like to believe that it is a whisper of heaven. Today's encounter with Manley and the two peahens encouraged me to search for similar beautiful gifts in this world.......and I am much richer for this experience.
----------to be continued