Red, white and blue
By CHRISTINE TAILER
Red is the color of the wild raspberries that are ripening along the edges of the fields. If I am lucky, I can find them on our morning walk, before the birds have eaten them all up, and if I am really lucky, I can reach through the briers and pick one and then pull my hand back out of the thicket without being pricked.
Red is the color of my blood if I am not quite so lucky and I am stuck by a thorn prior to plopping a wild raspberry into my mouth.
Red is also the color of the tame strawberries that grow on the tower just outside the cabin’s front door.
I planted them in the tower for ease of weeding. I simply walk around the tower from one side to the other, picking the errant weeds and tossing them over my shoulder, as I munch on the sweet red berries. It is hard to place the berries in my bucket and take them back inside for breakfast or fruit salad. It is too easy to simply put them into my mouth.
Red is the color of the hummingbird’s throat as he hovers at the red-watered feeder while I pick strawberries. On occasion, he will actually stop darting about and will sit quietly, balancing on the clothes line, but only for a short while.
White is the color of the flowered buckwheat field.
The white flowers seem to ebb and flow over the rolling field. As we pass by, I can smell the familiar sweet, musky smell lingering on the faint summer breeze. I can hear the buzz of our bees as they work the white flowers. The entire field seems to hum with their foraging. On closer inspection, I can see that white pollen is packed into their hind legs.
White is also the color of the bright clouds that pass by overhead. They seem to be particularly brilliant on this particular day, standing out boldly against the ever so clear sky.
White is the color of the dusty sage leaves that grow in the herb bed the cabin’s front door. I can pick a leaf and crush it between my fingers as I come and go, my special creek valley perfume.
And white is the color of the new rabbit kits, now one and a half weeks old, with just-opened eyes. They are amazingly cute, and I love to share them with little children who stop by the creek.
(I wonder if I should also tell the children that when grown, the rabbits are also amazingly good in the pot.)
White is the color of the new little chick, who follows after its mother all across the upper yard on tiny little chicken legs.
When it sits down and can move no more, the hen rushes over to it and plops down on top of it until it has rested and is ready to explore some more. I hope that it is a laying hen and not another rooster. Time will tell.
Blue is the color of the sky overhead. It looks as though it is electric in its intensity, almost shocking my bare eyes. Greg wears sunglasses. I pull down my cap.
Blue is the color of the clear creek water in the unshaded fishing hole. It reflects the sky overhead so that it is almost impossible to tell if I am looking up or looking down.
Our son caught three fish just the other day. Perhaps I should go and get my pole.
Blue is the color of our faded jeans, hanging out to dry on the clothes line. My favorite pair is perfectly worn, so the denim is soft and the color muted, some threads more bare than others. I wonder how much longer they will stay so perfect, before they suddenly turn into scraps.
Red, white and blue, the colors of our flag, the Stars and Stripes. Red signifies hardiness and valor. White stands for purity and innocence, while blue is a sign of perseverance and justice.
I have no doubt that our creek valley world is ever so hardy, perfectly pure and wonderfully just, as it makes its way south to the river and our country beyond.
Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in south-central Ohio. Visit them on the web at straightcreekvalleyfarm.com.