English: Two Australian Magpies (Cracticus tibicen) in Victoria Park, Sydney, in New South Wales, Australia. On the left is a juvenile (note the dark eyes) calling for food. The mother on the left has just obtained a piece of apple and is about to pass it over. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The magpies have gathered
In yonder tree
In their laughter*
I am becoming more free.
*if you have never heard magpies laugh
then read the story below.
Years ago, we lived on a “Stump-ranch“. Some years, that is all we had for crops was stumps. Cutting down trees to build a home for the newly weds made more stumps.
The garden was to be placed where the corral used to be. #MRHUSBAND said, ” There is no way in all of creation you are going to get those posts out to make a garden.” (Those were not his exact words but this is a family friendly blog) .
#mrswife invited the neighbours to help. He did not know how much the teenagers in the Valley needed to cut loose. (He did not know how much the teenager in me wanted to cut loose). I had been a teen-ager more recently than he had. The children of the Valley were all hired to all to come and help me get the posts out of the former corral ground area. And, I really do mean all. I had come to the Valley the year before as a hired homemaker for a family with four children and the recently widowed father. Driving the four children to their various events, I got to know all the kids at the school.
The day of the corral party, I had many helpers. Some workers. Some partiers. Some parents. There were “wee ones” helping me chase the chickens, turkeys, cows and pigs away from the old corral ground. We had “teen ones ” roping the posts like a steer. Then, they would pull the posts out of the ground with horse, truck and ATV. Some of the posts had to be wrapped with a chain to get the tractor to pull them out.
When the old posts were all out of the ground, they were placed upright together like a bonfire. The neighbour women (who had come with their truck loads of children and to help feed the crowd of helpers) were the ones who started the fire as the men were all away working the hay fields.
We sang. We danced, We played games and we drank a lot of water. We threw buckets of water on each other
We had portable B B Q for the home-made sausages, vegan wieners, hot dogs, steaks and chops. We had long sticks for the marshmallows when the fire burned down low enough to be safe. We had the horse trough full of ice and soda. We had food enough to feed an army. The women had brought preserves and pickles. There was a ton of watermelon and ice-cream sandwiches in their portable coolers.
In the evening, the men came in from the hay fields and we ate again. We had some huge potato salads, more steak and their favorite cold drinks…and fresh bread cooked on long sticks in the fire. The teenagers were chopping down trees and kicking up their heels. The wee ones had napped and come alive again. The party lasted till sundown as there was hay-making again tomorrow.
It was a great corral party and #mrswife had her space for a garden.
The next day, alone again on the stump ranch…I prepared the garden for planting. It was then, the magpies came and *laughed in the trees.
Today, almost 40 years later, three magpies came and sat in the pine tree in the yard outside the house in the city. They were laughing in joy that the flood waters had receded and that my family and I were safe.(#yyc, #yychelps, #yycflood2013)
Thank you for reading the rambling behind the poem.