Homebound: From Mersea To Maplehurst With Love, March First

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Christie and I are homebound. I, a writer of poetry and prose, am bound to Mersea, a 1904 simple white Victorian, nestled in the historic district of a southern shrimping village. She is bound to Maplehurst, a red-brick farmhouse built by Pennsylvania Quakers in 1880. We are both writers, wives, and mothers, but nearly twenty years and hundreds of miles lie between us.

This season, as winter turns toward spring and Lent leans toward Easter, Christie and I are writing letters, she beneath the hemlocks and maples and I beneath the pines and pecans. We reflect together on our homebound journeys. We will explore the bonds of love and faithfulness that tie us, and not always easily, to these particular places and to the people sheltered within them.

Please join us for an epistolary exploration of love, loss and restoration.

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My first letter to Christie may be found here. To read Christie’s response click here or the link to her letter may be found at the conclusion of my own.

February 2017

(From my green leather chair, the color of pea soup, at Mersea)

Dear One:

The wind is almost violent today. The gusts are like bursts of labor; nature is birthing something weather-wise that reminds me of the hurricanes we have lived through. Mersea has seen more than I. But I have seen all I care to see in one lifetime. Last fall’s hurricane, the one named Matthew, made landfall here. We chose to ride it out, to stay with our home and so we witnessed the force, the power, the destructive nature of the wind.

Today when the wind stops howling it is so peaceful and yet there is this waiting. The pattern is set. There will be more rattling and rumblings. The wind comes in like a train too fast at the station. My heart calms and speeds up in tandem with the wind.

Each time the wind barrels through the pine trees I am reminded of the bending and breaking they do. How resilient they are. And yet, in a moment one could come down on the house. The gust too much for the fragile, weak or old tree. So much restoring left to do here and yet a ripped and damaged roof would add to the list of “we need to’s”. I love the restoring. It feels important and life-giving. But do I want to add a project birthed from disaster?

I love the trees here in the village and at Mersea. They are mostly old and grand , some pecan, some pine and some oak. We live with them and learn from them. They seem to be storytellers and teachers. Walking us through the seasons with hope and renewal. Pointing out and upward with limbs of praise.

In the winter they appear to be grieving. Bearing up under the weight of their bareness. Providing so much and asking so little. Generous to a fault like the one in the book, “The Giving Tree”. Givers and teachers and beacons of what’s to come, these trees seem to be. Shade givers and hammock holders. Tire swing hangers and fig producers.

The wind is coming in a little calmer now. Just as the seasons do, change comes if we hold on tight and wait. I can hear the songbirds better when the wind dies down. Their song is vibrant, telling a story I cannot quite interpret. But yet, and yet, I miss the passion of the heavy gusts.

Our restoration has slowed down a bit here. I miss the passion we once had. But in this time of dormancy I am learning contentedness in the waiting. The quiet lull between projects provides a sanctuary of sorts. I must wait. And it is always good, no better even, when I do. It changes and shapes me, this waiting.

Peace and grace to you and your beloved Maplehurst. You are on my heart as I wonder what is being birthed and restored in your own heart and in your home.

Wishing you joy and hope in your restoration,

Elizabeth,  Mersea

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To read Christie’s beautiful response to me from Maplehurst  follow the link to her blog found here. Christie, author of “Roots and Sky” writes on her blog Christie Purifoy, A Spacious Place

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5 thoughts on “Homebound: From Mersea To Maplehurst With Love, March First

  1. Elizabeth,
    The beauty and glory of your words here:
    “I love the trees here…They are mostly old and grand, …We live with them and learn from them. Walking us through the seasons with hope and renewal. Pointing out and upward with limbs of praise…”
    “Providing so much and asking so little…Givers and teachers and beacons of what’s to come…shade givers and hammock holders. Tire swing hangers and fig producers.”
    THANK YOU for sharing your lovely letter to Christie:)
    Yesterday, as I drove with my husband from southern Maryland into Virginia, I commented to him on how much more rolling the land was than on our side of the Potomac and also how many more pine trees, spruce, cedar and other evergreens there were than in our neck of the woods. While we have many holly trees and many stands of bamboo (surprisingly) dotted around the landscape, we do not have the variety of evergreens that we found in VA. While I love our oaks and poplars particularly, I suppose I’m partial to pines since I grew up with them.
    Being a North Carolinian originally, I often get nostalgic for my flatland beginnings among the tall yellow pines. I grew up with four siblings whose parents were kind enough to take us to the beach weekly in summer:) So many good memories of the seashore! (live oaks, Spanish moss, oleanders, azaleas, sea oats, marshes…)
    Well, I’ve rambled on as I reminisce. Many thanks for your writing and Praise to the God of Creation!
    Gratefully,
    Katie

    1. Katie, it is a pleasure to have you here. Thank you for joining Christie and me on this letter writing journey. What a joy to have you along. Your words encourage me so!! I grew up in North Carolina and am now a South Carolinian by marriage so I have a love of both places buried deep within me. I am glad that you reminisced about your own memories of the your time in North Carolina, the Tarheel State, and your family time at the beach. Your remembering was a gift to ME!

      1. You are so welcome, Elizabeth:) I grew up on the outskirts of Wilmington and swam at Wrightsville Beach. My siblings and I still return every other summer for a reunion at WB where we share a beach house(s) depending on how many us make it.
        We used to have an aunt and uncle who would sometimes come up and join us for a day or so, going to a fish camp for supper one evening or having shrimp, corn on the cob and cantaloupe on the patio/deck. They’ve gone on to Glory now along with our Dad, but our Mom of 91 still joins us for one evening or two for supper. We are so blessed.

        1. Hello again – forgot mention that my aunt and uncle lived in Lugoff, SC – do you know where that is? They are both very missed.
          Really enjoy you and Christie’s letters.
          I’m excited to be going to NC for a weekend again soon!
          Katie

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