A Near and Dear Sisterhood

Yule Love It Lavender at its prime, July 2013, now under reclamation to native grasses
Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig. 
Marcus Aurelius

After growing up with four sisters, I found college sororities superfluous. Although Sally was congenial that day during spring rush, Greek life failed to interest me. My roommates, classmates, and fellow cheerleaders provided more than enough company.
Even so, they vacated campus for Christmas break 1968, unaware I slept in my dorm room, delirious with the Hong Kong flu. I have no memory of recovery and who drove me home, or my mother’s response when I walked through her door.
Perhaps this dangerous ordeal influenced a careful watch over my young children and led me to women I needed to befriend. A member in a Bible study group introduced me to La Leche League and Let’s Have Healthy Children by Adelle Davis.
Later, in 1977, a church elder substituted for Mom’s support when my youngest daughter underwent emergency surgery. Neighbor ladies washed my family’s laundry during my two-week bedside vigil, waiting for my infant’s blood to coagulate.
These trials culminated in a parent’s ultimate agony; the burial of our firstborn in 1996. Again, family and friends remained by my side, nearby and from a distance. The pitiless, long dark night of the soul severed some relationships, bonded others.
For God will not leave us comfortless in our trouble. From my natal sisterhood to life’s expanding spheres, God has provided a host of women who dug the fountain within me. Some spoke encouraging words; others helped build our lavender farm, and with a smile served wounded and needy hearts.
To these angels of mercy I am eternally grateful and beholden.
Amongst these associations, I have observed no common interest links a tribe of women as their love for digging the earth. Such it was Friday in answer to my call to begin the reclamation of an acre of lavender fields to native grasses.
Booted and gloved, three friends and I carried our shovels to one small portion of the farm. In soft rain, we labored together pulling staples from weed cloth, rolling up the heavy material, and loading it on the golf cart.
At last, we piled a monstrous mound of dirty ground cover at the roadside, removed our mud-smeared rain garments, and stepped indoors for a bowl of hot carrot, rhubarb, lentil soup.
To conclude our meal, we lifted steamy cups of Oolong Almond tea.
Kim took lead. “To the farm.” 
“To friendship,” Mary Ellen said.
Erna nodded. “To health.”
Speechless, this near and dear sisterhood summarized my sentiments.
Glad to see sunshine, feel its warmth on our face and backs, we unearthed perishing plants for the fire pit, the incense of worms and soil infusing the air.
Dear Reader, Sally’s on my mind, her smile and long, blond hair, our stroll across campus amongst budding trees. I hear the sound of her fountain bubbling up. I wonder if she’s another dear sister, waiting in another sphere of my life.