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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Red Oak House: A (Mostly) True Story (alt. title: Grief and Living in 2020)

Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. Here's an offering of my own creative non-fiction this morning from my office. Disclaimer: sorry for the black text. I'll eventually figure out how to fix that on my blog platform. Or not.

The story goes:

Threw together my own version of Full English Breakfast in a rush this morning @RedOakHouse. Google Full English Breakfast if you are curious.

Gobbled it down before I took a snapshot. Thanks, Mr. Jim @Jimfuglie for being a good gardener. I opted today for the vegetarian version.

Then I did a little research. I'm behind on gardening, yada yada yada. These past few years have been a whirlwind.

A North Dakota Prairie boulder I received for a gift, dead in the center of my front yard shade garden under the ND Champion Red Oak tree (acorns from said tree). The boulder, the lichen, and the tiny bit of native prairie short-grass endure beyond all odds. I like to sit on the boulder and think. And, no, we don't intend to get a pet cat or dog at this point in our lives for the endlessly nose-y (and well-intentioned advice.) 

I did learn when I was eating said breakfast that there is a RedOakHouse council flat in the UK. A "flat" is an apartment and a "council house" being, well, a local jurisdiction in the UK where this particular council flat is that yourself too. Too bad I didn't visit it (although I'm guessing I was fairly nearby about one year ago today).

Being of a curious nature (research is "catnip" to librarians/humans/???), I dug a little on Google Maps of the geographical term Red Oak. There are Red Oak place names in the UK and Red Oak place names in the US, including one not far from the center of my in Iowa, near Omaha.

I use a variety of research and navigational tools. Stars (the Big Dipper last night from my patio), planets (the Green Corn Moon right now), printed maps, knowledge of a landscape, websites, printed tourism guides, Google Maps on my phone, conversations with the locals, family, and trusted friends. For starters. I'm a self-taught sky-gazer, having used tools available along the life journey. Earth & Sky is a great tool and a visit to the Davis Observatory in the Davis Mountains of Texas was a distinct pleasure.

I keep up with friends and family in all manners -- visits, hikes, weddings, funerals, texts, social media, emails (oops, no time to write, I have hundreds of texts and emails to read!).

Some years ago Jim and I took the plunge and got a website for Red Oak House. It was the natural thing to do (or at least it was to us). We even bought the domains. Somewhere along in there, Jim started writing The Prairie Blog (he has had to migrate to a variety of platforms) and I took the plunge with WildDakotaWoman blog via Google (and, yup, Google has changed its blog platform and I'm struggling to figure out the new "look" and "tools". All the funky, unreadable font colors and crap in this blog post are entirely mine).

In the midst of the pandemic of 2020.

Non-sequitur: I have never been known by any name but Lillian. It is an honor. Lillian Hovick was the rock of her family and beloved in Slope County. Coming home meant I was going to stand in her kitchen and help her make sugar cookies when I wasn't doing my chores or going to school or......when my siblings and I lived with her briefly in the 1960s just prior to traveling to Okinawa to join my father there, I was four. I did not want to leave her and my mother said "Ok, but you won't get to see your father," and my little hand went into my mother's hand and I got on the plane in Billings, MT. Life moved on. Can't change that. My older cousins who knew her well say, "She didn't wear her religion on her sleeve." This may have had something to do with a lifetime of watching religions divide people and/or that she married a Catholic and they were not married by a priest. Shocking, I know! True love. She and her husband of fifty years are buried in southwest North Dakota and their funerals were held in the nearby small town Lutheran churches. I attended both. My parents' grief was unimaginable.

All photos cLillianCrook

I've got to push "Publish" now and check my lavender plants and picture myself in Provence, France. This soothes my soul. I've got some pollinators and birds to watch. 

"I write as though I'm whispering in the ear of the one I love." Terry Tempest Williams 

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