When corn grows unexpectedly in your dreams.

Garden squash

Garden squash

Last night I dream-walked through my garden, a garden planted a long, long time ago in another dream–and, look, how unexpected, sweet yellow ears of corn grew amidst the zucchini and beans and squash vines.

What an unexpected delight during a melancholy weekend.  To think that tender sweet corn might grow when one doesn’t even remember planting fat yellow seeds in spring soil.  Never mind it’s only a dream.

Tenderest of sweet corn

Tenderest of sweet corn

I am melancholy because–well, you parents of grown children know the drill–they come, they go, and one must re-discover oneself in the relative emptiness of the house when it’s back to four footsteps instead of six or eight.

(It was a pathetic day yesterday, she sniffed.  She ate an entire dark chocolate coconut bar, a treat she had vowed to portion out in squares during the month of January.  She stared dull-eyed at the computer for too many woeful hours and wanted to go somewhere, anywhere, except there was nowhere to go.  No where on God’s snowy earth.  She watched the world’s worst movie on her Kindle Flame and read a spiritual book hoping to drown the mood, but it only succeeded in annoying her.

The best part of the day was the moon rising in early morning through tree branches.

Moon through the tree branches yesterday morning

Moon through the tree branches yesterday morning

OK, the second best part of the day was a walk up the road just before dark.  She is learning to walk on snowy ice again, as many of you know.  How can she better describe this, so that you’ll understand?  She learned recently that *part* of her walking on ice was learned fear.  The other part is sensible caution.  She is now consciously releasing the fear.  She’ll never release the caution.  It feels heavenly to let go of what is no longer needed.)

Barry is repairing the bird feeder.  Maybe two years ago we put it away, vowing not to feed any more chickadees and juncos and finches.  Fie on finches!  It costs an arm and a leg to feed the chattering winged-ones, and besides, a bear bent the bird feeder with his massive paw, making it seem too much of a challenge to repair.

{Insert missing photo of bent bird feeder here.  Kathy will insert if she ever finds.  However she has looked for it for ten minutes and it’s still Missing in Action.  Try to imagine it, please.}

However, when our daughter visited from New York City, she remarked on the sterility of our woods.  She claimed more wildlife existed in Queens than the “wilderness” of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, alas, alas.

“Where are the birds?” she demanded and we sheepishly announced our decision a couple years back.

We still have tall white buckets of sunflower seeds lounging in the closet, so we threw handfuls onto the snow, hoping to attract the errant chickadee flock back near our garden so she could hear the “chicka-dee-dee-dee” sing its sweet winter song.

The day after she left, the chickadees returned.  They’re munching hungrily on the seed.  Also, the temperature warmed to the 30’s after she departed, and hundreds of animal tracks now decorate the woods.  (Wildlife hibernates or “torpors” when it’s cold.  Yes, it can look sterile on frigid days in mid-winter, it can, except when one feeds birds…which we are about to do.  Again.)



If a chickadee misses a sunflower seed it may fall down, down, through the white snow and burrow in soil until spring.  An unexpected sunflower might stretch its yellow head toward the sun in summertime, a corn-colored sunflower, the shining glory of a July morning.

A chickadee might alight upon it and eat sun-warmed fresh sunflower, and we might lather sweet corn with butter and salt and munch on our deck in short sleeves, tossing the munched-up ears into the woods.  Perhaps we’ll even dine with children flown in from San Diego or New York City, our moods light and cheerful, a moon grinning between full green leaf branches, whispering, “Precious moment, don’t miss it, precious moment, don’t miss it…” like a chickadee’s sweet song.

Precious moment a few years ago...

Precious moment a few years ago…

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in January 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to When corn grows unexpectedly in your dreams.

  1. territerri says:

    I understand this kind of melancholy. You never REALLY get used to the empty nest, do you? Mine always feels significantly more empty after the kids have been home for a stretch of time and then leave again.

    I dreamed last night that I got another dog. A BIG one. There wasn’t room in the house with two other dogs already living here. My dream left me with a huge sense of anxiety. I like your corn dream better! 😉

  2. P.j. grath says:

    Second try here to be the first to comment today! Fingers racing! Loved that you were annoyed by a spiritual book. Why? Makes me feel closer to you. Do you know CHICKADEES AT NIGHT, the #1 hardcover bestseller of 2012 in the Traverse City area? I think you’d like it. Happy sweet corn dreams, Kathy! (Now to try Post Comment again and hope for better luck this time….)

  3. Fountainpen says:

    Such precious moment indeed!!!!!!!

  4. To P.J….I try to be last so I can read all the comments.
    I understand the melancholy having years of practice; today will begin another season of “missing” footprints. This time a grandson.

    They, along with the chickadees, will wing their way back to you. I gave my Mother a rock once (when those were in favor).”Thanks Mom…for giving me roots and wings!”

  5. Dawn says:

    I remember visiting my parents who lived far away. The times were always too short, too infrequent. I remember watching them, memorizing their faces, their voices. I remember listening to them talk early in the morning before I ventured from my warm bed. Those are good memories. Know that everyone has bereft feelings when we have to separate from the ones we love. Each day will be easier, and one day closer to you being together again. Promise.

  6. lisaspiral says:

    I am delighted by you growing corn in your dreams, especially your January dreams. The cycles turn and many of us are having some version of post holiday doldrums. I love the days when the sun shines bright even when those are supposed to be our coldest (global warming is causing a climate change here that is remarkable for January’s without weeks of subzero temperatures). Chickadees also make me smile.

  7. sybil says:

    I keep waiting for mine to spread her wings. Part of me wants to shoo her from the nest — part of me wants her here forever.

    May all your dreams be corny ones. 🙂

  8. Kathy – sometimes the juice of melancholy is good to simmer in because it adds a flavor to life that can be gotten through no other ingredient.

    “It feels heavenly to let go of what is no longer needed.” Amen!

  9. Nice post Kathy. I’m glad you are feeding the birds again. A least your dream made a bit of sense. Mine never do. Great pic of the family.

  10. susanblake says:

    Hi Kathy,
    From fear to melancholy, and I can resonate with both! What helps me to walk on ice (let’s keep this philosophically simple) is relaxing, having knees slightly bent and not all stiff and tense. The more we tense up, the more we fall. Maybe that can be a good way to look at dealing with fear altogether. Like the note on my desk “Think Greater Than You Feel” melancholy can melt away —- and so will the ice—-eventually!

  11. sonali says:

    You dream walked in your garden, that’s cool! Nice post 🙂

  12. That moon photograph is really really great! I would like to buy it. Is it for sale?

  13. When I’m melancholy, I have horrible dreams: taking my daughter and grandchildren for a walk (in the dream they’re all the same age, around 2), turning around to tie one shoe, and wwssssh! the others disappear, plus all kinds of “loss” scenes.
    I’m glad you ate the entire chocolate bar. It made me feel better.

  14. Brenda Hardie says:

    Oh Kathy, I share your feelings of melancholy at this time! For the memory of having both my sons home everyday…for the past years with my Mama…for the lost years of my childhood and …for the lost hopes and dreams. Yes, other precious things have filled many of those places but not all have been replaced. There still lingers a grasping of treasured moments. I pray we both find peace and contentment during this long and cold winter. May the chickadees bring you cheer and your dreams bring you hope for happier times. And…may there always be chocolate to bring a smile to our faces! 🙂 Sending you hugs dear friend of the north ♥

  15. john says:

    I’ve been reading a book by Mark Cuban. The first thing he did after he sold his first company was to buy a lifetime pass on American Airlines. I think I see you as a successful author more than a successful entrepreneur, so get that first book going. After a couple of New York Times #1 books you can concentrate on traveling between the four coasts as you write. A week with Kiah, a week with parents, a week with Chris and a week in your little house in the big woods each month. So go forth and plant the seeds of a for profit writing career and watch your success grow tall and reach for the sky.

  16. Ah, winter is a melancholy time for many of us, anyway, and getting used to the absence of loved ones is hard, too. It’s odd how quickly we get used to having them around again, no matter how long they’ve been away, so that it’s a marked difference (and sad!) when they leave. Take care, Kathy.

  17. Heather says:

    Saying goodbye is always so hard, but I would rather have a hard goodbye than an easy one. I hate leaving my family, but I love that I have family special enough to miss. I know of some who I would run from, and that’s no hyperbole.
    I like how Kiah gently guilted you into feeding the birds again 😉 We tried feeding the birds, but succeeded at feeding the squirrels instead. Enjoy your winged visitors. And your sweet corn dreams. (PS – I have a huge sweet corn pocket, but I never dream of corn. I *do* frequently have morel dreams, though!)

  18. Barb says:

    They come and then they go again. It is as it should be, but sometimes it’s hard. We miss them so! I think the dream corn turned into your post for today – an unexpected treat.

  19. sandiwhite says:

    I love the juncos, chickies and other little tweets that used to come and visit the feeder. These days they visit the Chicken Ladies, in the afternoons I scatter a nine-grain mix., a bit pricier scratch feed than I use in the summer. This feed contains whole corn, sunflower and saff flower seed, milo, millet, wheat and several other whole grains and seeds, I feel like the oily seeds give my girls a better boost in the cold days of winter. They are not the only ones who like it, everything on wings that has not flown South for the winter comes by to “share”. As for the empty nesting, give it some time, even this has it’s benefits!

  20. I hate when they leave again–they temporarily leave a big hole you have to fill again–love the pic of the moon and in my mind’s eye I can see the bent bird feeder

  21. So nice to read the comments, to see the people whose hearts you’ve touched from this post. I, too, feel that melancholy. The sadness (and incrementally, the amount of chocolate consumed) was too large and heavy at first, but slowly, slowly, I’ve filled the nest with writing and work and long phone calls to the missed, and splendid special visits with my grown-up chickadees and their new little ones. Life is kind, in that we learn to live through the melancholy and then savor the sweetness when our hearts are once again filled.

  22. Colleen says:

    What a lovely dream, a Three Sisters garden! It’s only a dream, I know, but the synchronicity is beautiful.

  23. Karma says:

    Beautifully illustrated blog and touching words. Oh Kathy I am so nervous for this year, for 2013 is the year my first chickadee graduates from high school! I will have to deal with her spreading her wings and fleeing the nest, at least temporarily, when she flies off to college in the fall.

  24. lucindalines says:

    It is always easy for me to drive away from the home of one of my daughters, but I want to break down in sobs everytime they drive away from my house. I wonder what makes that.

  25. wolfsrosebud says:

    are you getting cabin fever already… great pics

  26. Great family picture! I don’t know what I’d do without Skype. One of my daughters joined us from college for the Packer Game Saturday night (after her too short visit home). If only they could figure out how to send food over the internet.

  27. Sara says:

    What a happy-looking family. I’m glad you enjoyed your time together, and I know you will once again adjust to that empty nest. They’re always with you in spirit.

  28. Stacy says:

    Yes, the melancholia that enters the room when our children exit – I understand this well. Though I am finally near my Jillian again, she will always be too far away if she is not sitting at my side.

    At least you will have the chickadees again to remind you of those precious moments. ❤

  29. Chris Roddy says:

    And life goes on……

  30. Kathy says:

    Thank you all for pausing and sharing your thoughts and feelings. I believe many of us feel the same when our children leave, or when we return from a precious vacation, or simply just after the holidays when everything shifts back to “normal”. Or attempts to shift back to normal, whatever normal might be.

    Thinking more about the seeds we plant in our lives–the unexpected seeds–which grow corn when we hardly knew we planted. Thinking also of dreams. And appreciating all of you. Blessings!

  31. Sid Dunnebacke says:

    If you’ll allow, I just recently posted my thoughts on feeding the birds – I totally hear your pain about the cost, but apparently decided it’s worth it.

  32. Kathy says:

    The bird feeder is up! At least six chickadees have moved in. 🙂

    • Colleen says:

      They are the sweetest birds! You can’t help but smile when they’re around 🙂

      • Kathy says:

        Barry and I are having a Great Disagreement. He’s wrong, of course. He says the Finches have moved in. I totally disagree. No matter which, they’re so sweet and I can’t wait to win the argument when it gets light enough.

        • Colleen says:

          Well, finches have their charms too but can’t help hoping you saw chickadees with the first light. It’s 6:45ish here and the sky is still dark. And we’re expecting snow, which will be a first for us here. Thinking about you. xxoo

          • Kathy says:

            YES! Chickadees. *happy smile* And later we both saw some nut hatches. Good morning and now good afternoon, Colleen. How fun that you’ll be getting some snow! Much love to you, too. Kiah and I are always doing that xoxoxoxo thing. So some to you, too! xoxoxoxox

  33. Joanne says:

    Aww Kathy, this is one of those times when I wish I could give you a big hug! It sounds like you need one. Just the name Chickadee is enough to bring a smile to my face! You speak often of them, so I hope there will be many happy photos in the future of little Chickadees, munching away on the sunflower seeds. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      It was a very hard weekend for many reasons, Joanne, and the challenges lasted until about Tuesday. Strange to think that you do not have chickadees in Australia. (You don’t, do you?) It is the sweetest of little birds and we like them so much because they’re not afraid of snow and cold and actually stick around for our winters. Blessings to you.

  34. Robin says:

    I understand this type of melancholy all too well. I’m glad the chickadees returned, and hope they will continue to cheer you up as you grow corn in your dreams and sunflowers under your snow and ice. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      They are so sweet, the chickadees, eating the seeds and calling to each other. Hoping you are well this evening, Robin. Looks like you’re reading the Nicaragua post just as I’m replying to this one.

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