tickle hill road

I still remember the sound of the cars driving by, a distant  whirring and buzzing mixed in with an occasional rooster crowing in the background.  I would open my eyes slightly and then pull the layers of quilts up over my head, drifting back to sleep.  Eventually, the smells and sounds of bacon and eggs would start wafting in and wake me.

Granny and Poppa's "country house" was a small house on couple of acres of land alongside a county road.  There was a small pond on the property which neighbored a chicken farm owned by Mr. Bentley.  We had ducks, chickens, geese, rabbits and for a brief period of time, I even had a pony.  I thought we were rich.  Until I was old enough to know better.

I would ride with Granny and Pop in their gargantuan wood-paneled station wagon down "tickle hill road" from their house in the small town where I grew up out to "the country".  This was, of course, before seat belt laws and I would catapult from seat to seat and giggle with glee over every hill.  I tell this story often to my own children whenever we are on "tickle hill road".  They look up from their phones long enough to say, "We know, Mom. We. know."

I can't fault them for their lack of enthusiasm.  Buckled in, riding in a car with infinitely better suspension and distracted by handheld devices, they have no relatable experience and no way of knowing that my retelling is simply a reliving.  This is why we tell stories.  This is why, on a random Tuesday, as I'm making coffee in my own suburban kitchen, that was the memory coming to mind.
In those moments, in that station wagon, I thought - as children often do - that this was how life would always be.  When we're young, we don't have the perspective to view our lives in seasons, or to feel the weight of them passing.  "Children are adaptable", they say.  Because children live in the immediacy of the moment, they are miniature experts at living in the present and the grappling with the gravity of change is postponed until we're old enough to understand the seasons - and the brevity of life.

I haven't written for quite some time.  Over a year, actually.  Perhaps it's because I'm still grappling with the gravity of the changing seasons myself.  Managing adulthood, a household, raising teenagers.  The words get lost in the mix and then I find myself every bit as jumbled up inside and I'm reminded that I, too, like Flannery O'Conner, "I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say."

If you're a writer, you'll understand.  It's not something we do.  It's just something we are.  Even when we're not actively doing it.

For years, I wrote on a blog aptly titled, "Postcards from Adulthood".  I was a new mom in my late twenties trying to reconcile the pace of life and navigate the landscape of adulthood.  Later, for more years, I wrote at "Narrow Path Home".  It was a place I wrestled with my faith and healing and reconciliation.  The archives to both of those are included here.

In the gap, I allowed that domain to expire and the thought of starting became daunting, primarily because I couldn't settle on a name or a theme that felt right for this season, whatever this season is.
This morning, I stopped waiting and just started writing.

I don't live far from Tickle Hill Road now.  Just a few miles.  Urban sprawl has covered portions of it with subdivided neighborhoods.  It looks different now.  It feels different, too.

Tickle Hill Road has become my own proverbial memory lane so it would seem fitting that is what it is here, too:  a mix of memoir and musings.


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