Google+ House Revivals: Attic Organizing, Time Traveling, and Cropdusting Adventures

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Attic Organizing, Time Traveling, and Cropdusting Adventures

Remember that attic project I've been posting about? The one with piles and piles of boxes? Yeah, that one.

I've been up there since Saturday morning, only coming down to eat or sleep. My husband had a business trip to Atlanta, so I took advantage of the time to come out to the beach house alone and work. Of course, my camera has broken during this process, so I can't share new pictures until I figure out how to download from my little backup camera.

It had been three weeks since we were able to come out to the coast. Between bouts of flu, and work obligations, we were pretty much stuck in the city, so I was more than ready to come down to the sea again. When you walk in the door of our beach house, you can immediately see straight through to the ocean. I was delighted to see two magnificent eagles perched on poles at the beach edge! One was a golden eagle and one was a bald eagle... and this, my friends, is why it's taking us years to get projects done at the beach. We start out with the best intentions, then we sea a bird, and then we grab the binoculars, then we oooooh and ahhhhhh over the size of their talons..... and you can see where this goes. Before you know it, we've pulled out the telescope, but then we see the fishing boats, and just about the time we tire of looking at boats, huge colorful kite sails begin passing by....

All this to say that I came down to the sea this weekend to work, and in spite of an early bout of weakness, and the Siren's call, I did it. I cloistered myself in the attic and worked for hours on end. I was sad about the attic being a windowless space, but it actually worked in my favor -- no outside distractions!

On our last few visits, we focused on caulking cracks and setting up shelves, and seeing how many times we could move the same boxes from one side of the room to the other. On this visit, I actually began unpacking boxes in earnest. It has been wonderful. And overwhelming. And emotional. I must store all the family history stuff in that attic, along with my creative supplies, so it has turned into a time of remembering and soul searching.

My grandmother used to draw her own quilt applique patterns, and I ran across a box of her hand drafted patterns and quilt squares! I thought those hand drafted patterns were every bit as lovely as the quilt squares made from them.

My father was a crop duster, and I ran across his field maps for Ka'u Farms, back in the day when they still grew sugar cane. It reminded me of his stories of taking off from runways carved high into the sides of mountains, because your fully loaded Stearman is so heavy it will lose altitude at first. You pray that your plane finds it's wings and starts to fly before the ground gets too close. You pray you can get your load applied before the fog rolls in, because there is no way your plane will get back up the mountain while it's heavy. You land when your tanks are near empty, so you can make that climb back up to the mountainside landing strip. All the while, you pray a little prayer that a wind gust coming up the side of the mountain won't pick up your plane and flip it over, like happened to the last guy, and the guy before that. You'll be fine. Old pilots aren't bold.

I found a pasteboard box filled with an assortment of vintage dedication certificates and marriage certificates and religious tracts from my minister grandfather, as well as handwritten sermon notes from the depression era. I remembered endless summer evening revivals as a young girl. It would be so hot in the little church, and someone would have the door propped open, and people would be getting saved to a chorus of crickets. I whiled the time away, pretending the hymnals were baby dolls, not realizing that time was moving in fast forward mode.

There was an entire file of my Aunt Althea's embroidery patterns! Aunt Althea was my grandmother's sister, and she was one of the loveliest women I've ever known. She gifted the people she loved with her hand embroidered items and her quilts, but most of all with her smiles. Aunt Althea was unable to conceive, so she took all that love that was in her heart and showered it on the world around her.

Then I ran across my mother's high school yearbook, and that reminded me of my daughter at the same age. I decided to mail the yearbook to my daughter, so she can flip through the book and think of her grandmother as a young fresh faced girl with her whole life before her. She will be able to read the handwritten sentiments, and search among the pages of eager young faces for an image of her ancestor. It's funny how the time goes.

What started out as a search of boxes in the attic, turned into a search of the soul. I became a time traveler, peaking into the day to day lives of souls who have long since gone to Jesus; and in the process I found myself peaking into my own life. Their lives were full of tears and hopes and laughter and love and hurt and hard work -- just like mine. And while their time on earth was full and long, the time flew past in the blink of an eye. I never really understood quite how quickly we all travel through time, until I turned around one day and my own little babies were taller than me!

So, I unpacked boxes and traveled through time and began to organize my stuff. Alone, I sat, but not really alone. I felt like I was surrounded by the people I've loved -- fellow time travelers who are just a step ahead of me in their adventures. I opened a box and found one of my Grandmother's old hymnals -- the kind with the shaped notes -- and flipped it open to her favorite Southern hymn, and hummed "Oh, they tell me of a place where my friends have gone."

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