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  • Dances With Rabbits

    Morning at Sandhill has its own choreography. Open the back door. Watch Owen perform yoga stretches as he surveilles the backyard. Wait for him to turn his face upward in a non-verbal request for a scruff or two under his chin. Speak the word “okay” in a sufficiently serious tone of voice that he understands it is time to move beyond the threshold and into the day. Not every morning unrolls in such an orderly manner. Some mornings when I open the back door, Owen’s buddy from next-door, Smokey, is waiting to stuff his long black German Shepherd nose into the crack, always believing that he will be invited in. On those mornings, yoga stretches and neck scruffs are forgotten and Owen rushes through the door without encouragement. Some mornings, when the weather is cold or wet, Owen does not even rise from his bed, but, instead, curls into a tighter ball, willing himself into invisibility and exhaling deeply as I close the laundry room door and leave him alone. This morning was not like any of those. This morning Owen moved toward the open door, not the least bit lethargic or yoga-like, paying me no attention at all. His nose twitched in the first sniff of morning air and his dark eyes stopped their scanning on a spot at the edge of the yard. A big brown rabbit sat under the oak tree nibbling at the bird seed that had been knocked out of the feeder. I didn't dare move. I knew that the slightest motion would send the rabbit scurrying and the scurrying would send Owen dashing off the stoop, chasing the poor rabbit into the undergrowth. Quiet and still, my eyes moved back and forth between the rabbit and Owen. Eventually the rabbit stealthily moved away from the shade of the tree and toward the edge of the brush. Owen remained alert and immovable. Deciding to believe that he sensed, but did not actually see the rabbit, I urged him outside and closed the door. Whether a chase ensued, I cannot say. The day moved on and I could not stop thinking about the rabbit. Dark brown, bigger than any I have seen around here lately. I imagined his warren, his mate, perhaps some kits. I decided he must have survived several seasons – avoided the snakes as a baby, the raccoons as an adolescent, the coyotes and foxes as a adult – to get to be the mature rabbit at the edge of my yard. The thing is, I decided as I walked down the road beneath the warming sun, rabbits are not all that different from humans. You don’t get to be grown, to be a mature human being, without surviving a few things. Without getting a few scars. Without having run from and eluded some enemies. My father is 86 years old. I have watched him longer than I have watched anyone. I have watched him stand in a dusty corn field, eyes and arms lifted in supplication for rain. I have watched him gently wipe the face of my dying mother, his bride of sixty-six years. I have watched him, heard him eulogize his own parents and more than a handful of friends. I have watched him, in the way of all creatures, scar and bruise and survive. A day later, a day after I met the rabbit, I saw Owen stretched out in the sun chewing on a bone. It was dry and white and old. Too dry and too white and too old to belong to the rabbit. Still, it was evidence of the life of something – an opossum, maybe, or an armadillo – and it reminded me that, while life of any length involves scarring and bruising, it also, eventually, involves ending. I do not want to consider this. I would rather stand quietly at my door and watch rabbits. Copyright 2022

  • Know Its Name

    I don’t know what it is called. And after all the unsuccessful research, I don’t even want to know. I am strangely and unusually satisfied with the idea that, at least this once, not knowing the name of something is, in fact, preferable. It grows on a thin straight stem, smooth and straight like a green straw, and its satiny leaves all sprout from the bottom like a fountain. The flower itself is tiny, smaller than a thimble. It is white and shaped like a tulip, the petals cupped into a circle and overlapping each other in almost indiscernible layers, little children lined up in staggered rows. On some of the petals there is the very smallest amount of deep purple, almost as if someone had dipped them in blackberry juice or stained them with a pinprick of blood. At least 25 years ago, back when Sandhill could still be called a new house (Ginny, my golden retriever, and Fritz, her sister who lived down the road, could still find crunchy bits of concrete that had broken off in the construction process.), I grew tired of the bands of empty crust that lined the foundation and, though I had neither any real interest in gardening nor the means to do it properly, I began considering putting things, flowering things, into the ground. I don’t remember from which magazine I ordered it, but the “carpet of wildflowers” seemed just the thing: easy to plant and, because they were wildflowers, legitimately neglectable. Disappointed a bit by the size of the carpet, I decided to roll it out near the back door, between the outside faucet and the tall metal pole that I still used to bring in, on a clear night, three television stations. I followed the instructions – I think there was something about “covering with a light layer of soil and watering thoroughly.” – and left the wildflowers to their wildness. This was in the fall. By spring I had forgotten about the carpet. If anything bloomed I probably mistook it for one of the many colorful weeds that grew in the field grass that I call my yard. By the next spring I had realized that perhaps the tiny little seeds had needed something more than a light layer of soil and thorough watering. In all the springs thereafter only one flower sprouted – a happy jonquil, a flower I thought for certain grew from a bulb and not a seed and which the nice young man trimming the weeds along the edge of the house absentmindedly sheered to its root. I eventually planted other things, things that actually produced flowers and foliage, colorful things like lilies and irises and hydrangeas. The television antenna gave way to a satellite dish and Ginny was followed by Lily and now Owen. Things changed. And, then, a couple of weeks ago, just a few days before the party at Sandhill to celebrate the publication of my third book, the unnamed flower pushed its little head into the air, bobbing back and forth with the stiff breeze and smiling with every bob. Twenty-five years. Twenty-five years covered by dirt and darkness. Twenty-five years ignored and forgotten. Twenty-five years turning into something amazing. I would like to be able to congratulate myself on my patience and give myself credit for believing in invisible seeds. I would like to think that my occasional glance had at least a bit to do with the little flower’s determination and resilience. I would like to say that I was not totally surprised by its ta-da. But I was. I was shocked and stunned and stupefied. Like a person always is when anticipation has faded to waiting and waiting has faded frustration and frustration has faded to giving up. Like when it is too hard to hold on in unending silence. Like when whatever you thought you knew turns out to be wrong. But, also, like a person always is in the presence of a miracle. I don’t know its name, but I shall call it miracle. Copyright 2022

  • Against The Wind ... Or Not

    I tucked my chin into my chest and plowed forward against the wind. My feet came slowly up off the ground, a lesson in physics as they moved in opposition to the invisible force. Tears fell not from sadness but from the pressure, squeezed from my eyes like water from a sponge. I could have stayed inside, could have listened to the wailing around the corners of the house from a nest in front of the gas logs, mesmerized by fake flames as easily as real ones and wondering what that tells me about my gullibility. I could have stayed inside, convincing myself that wind this hard was sure to stir up even more pollen. I could have stayed inside. But I didn’t. I wanted, no, I needed to walk. To stretch, to flex, to exert. And now I had become the immovable object set against the irresistible force. When I finally struggled my way past the open fields on both sides of the road, to the spot where my brother’s planted pines acted as a windbreak, I was able to stand up straight. I squared my shoulders and raised my eyes to a landscape so familiar I have traversed it in the dark. Mama used to tell me about the house – I think it was her grandmother’s. – where one of the daily tasks was to sweep the front yard. The road in front of me, under my feet, looked as I imagined that yard, swept smooth of pebbles and pine cones, resembling sifted flour. In a matter of minutes, probably, it would be pressed down by tire tracks and shoe prints and all the many things that settle onto the ground when the wind takes a breath. Wind. Breath. I unexpectedly found myself remembering that the Hebrew word for wind, “ruach,” is the same as the word for breath and also the same as the word for spirit. The wind that dried out the earth after the flood is the breath that enlivened the animals and they are both the articulation of those attributes that make us human, for example wisdom and compassion, but also envy and cowardice. Wind and breath and spirit. All the same. But different. I arrived back at home feeling a tightness in my chest and hearing a wheeze, the soft whistling sound that announces, as if I didn’t know, that the dust, the pollen, the wind itself had invaded my lungs, were trying to take my breath. I found the inhaler, shook it rapidly for a few seconds, and, in a choreography I have learned well, exhaled completely before pressing the pump of the inhaler as I breathed in deeply. My great-grandmother died of asthma. My namesake aunt died of emphysema. In a strange way, this is what they left me and I think of them every time I avail myself of the convenience and the miracle my doctor calls the rescue inhaler. I think of them and wonder, where was their rescue? I admit without embarrassment that my thoughts, my remembrance of the two women, one of whom I never even knew, would not be as frequent if what they’d left me was a set of china or a chest of silver. This struggle to breathe is our generational connection, a strange heirloom in a family that has few tangible ones. I managed a deep breath. The inhaler had vanquished the wheeze and the in and out of breathing became, once again, reflex. Outside the window I could see the trees still bending, the dirt still rising in sheets and swirls. Wind and breath and spirit. Another kind of trinity. Wind to remind me of the vastness of creation. Breath to remind me of my fragile humanity. Spirit to bind me to all that is life. Creation, humanity, life. Ruach. Copyright 2022

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  • The Columns | Kathy A. Bradley | Author and Writer in southeast Georgia | A lawyer by training and a storyteller by nature, Kathy A. Bradley is a writer in southeast Georgia for more than 20 years as a newspaper columnist and magazine contributor.   Kathy is the author of two books, Breathing and Walking Around and Wondering Toward Center. |

    In 1996 -- another century altogether! -- I told what I thought was a clever story to a friend and, in the circuitous way of small towns, that story made it's way to the editor of the local newspaper, who asked me to write it down. I did and he published it. Twenty-four years later I'm still writing stories for that same local newspaper. These are those stories. Website Designed by Beola Le'Shaun Consulting The Columns Kathy A. Bradley 3 days ago Anniversaries and Sycamore Leaves 86 0 9 likes. Post not marked as liked 9 Kathy A. Bradley Nov 20 Pound Cake and the English Language 115 0 9 likes. Post not marked as liked 9 Kathy A. Bradley Nov 6 Time Lapse Photography and Jaunty Berets 76 0 6 likes. Post not marked as liked 6 Kathy A. Bradley Oct 23 Joining The Parade 86 0 9 likes. Post not marked as liked 9 Kathy A. Bradley Oct 10 View From A Birthday 110 0 6 likes. Post not marked as liked 6 Kathy A. Bradley Sep 25 There IS Crying in Baseball 132 0 7 likes. Post not marked as liked 7 Kathy A. Bradley Sep 11 The Governor and the Wildflower 86 0 7 likes. Post not marked as liked 7 Kathy A. Bradley Aug 28 How To Make A Saint 262 2 11 likes. Post not marked as liked 11 Kathy A. Bradley Aug 14 Compare and Contrast 91 2 5 likes. Post not marked as liked 5 Kathy A. Bradley Jul 31 Geraniums, Baby Wrens, and Human Failure 75 0 5 likes. Post not marked as liked 5 Kathy A. Bradley Jul 17 Prescribed Burn 107 0 6 likes. Post not marked as liked 6 Kathy A. Bradley Jul 4 Observation Post 63 0 3 likes. Post not marked as liked 3 Kathy A. Bradley Jun 20 Celebration Season 104 1 4 likes. Post not marked as liked 4 Kathy A. Bradley Jun 5 Teach A Woman To Fish 139 2 8 likes. Post not marked as liked 8 Kathy A. Bradley May 22 For Hydrangeas and Wonder Woman 71 0 4 likes. Post not marked as liked 4 Kathy A. Bradley May 8 Wrens For The Win 78 0 3 likes. Post not marked as liked 3 Kathy A. Bradley Apr 24 Apple Butter and Dixie Cups 113 1 6 likes. Post not marked as liked 6 Kathy A. Bradley Apr 10 Freeze And Other Warnings 71 0 6 likes. Post not marked as liked 6 Kathy A. Bradley Mar 27 Feeding The Birds 82 0 7 likes. Post not marked as liked 7 Kathy A. Bradley Mar 14 Always Dogs 113 0 11 likes. Post not marked as liked 11 Kathy A. Bradley Feb 27 In the Company of Tire Tracks 76 1 6 likes. Post not marked as liked 6 Kathy A. Bradley Feb 14 Lovely As A Tree 110 3 9 likes. Post not marked as liked 9 Kathy A. Bradley Jan 30 Of Pine Trees and Merit Badges 150 0 12 likes. Post not marked as liked 12 Kathy A. Bradley Jan 16 The Union Label 385 1 12 likes. Post not marked as liked 12 Kathy A. Bradley Jan 2 Of Hawks and Border Collies 111 2 14 likes. Post not marked as liked 14 Kathy A. Bradley Dec 19, 2020 I've Got Mail 146 2 10 likes. Post not marked as liked 10 Kathy A. Bradley Dec 5, 2020 Like A River 353 2 21 likes. Post not marked as liked 21 Kathy A. Bradley Nov 21, 2020 Falling Leaves 120 1 13 likes. Post not marked as liked 13 Kathy A. Bradley Nov 8, 2020 Beautyberries and the Sinkhole 138 0 4 likes. Post not marked as liked 4 Kathy A. Bradley Oct 24, 2020 On Being A Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes 101 0 7 likes. Post not marked as liked 7 Kathy A. Bradley Oct 11, 2020 Falling in Love with Butterflies 64 0 7 likes. Post not marked as liked 7 Kathy A. Bradley Sep 26, 2020 I Can Give You The Ocean 135 1 13 likes. Post not marked as liked 13 Kathy A. Bradley Sep 12, 2020 Summertime And The Livin' Is Grievin' 386 0 6 likes. Post not marked as liked 6 Kathy A. Bradley Aug 29, 2020 Would You Be My Neighbor? 163 0 7 likes. Post not marked as liked 7 Kathy A. Bradley Aug 16, 2020 Roots and Rainbows 124 0 5 likes. Post not marked as liked 5 Kathy A. Bradley Aug 1, 2020 Habitat for All Humanity 57 0 Post not marked as liked Kathy A. Bradley Jul 3, 2020 What Is It About Spider Webs? 7 0 Post not marked as liked - Jun 21, 2020 Mock - Ing - Bird -Yeh! 9 0 Post not marked as liked - Jun 6, 2020 Listen! 9 0 Post not marked as liked - May 23, 2020 The Yin and Yang of Pandemic 10 0 Post not marked as liked - May 9, 2020 Dancing With The Wind 3 0 1 like. Post not marked as liked 1 - Apr 26, 2020 Birds and Turtles 3 0 Post not marked as liked - Apr 11, 2020 Clouds and Sliding Doors 0 0 Post not marked as liked - Mar 28, 2020 Meeting In The Middle 1 0 Post not marked as liked - Mar 15, 2020 Mortar Boards and Floating Names 5 0 Post not marked as liked - Mar 1, 2020 Rain Tales 1 0 Post not marked as liked - Feb 15, 2020 Half Is Enough 0 0 Post not marked as liked - Feb 2, 2020 Not Quite Auld Lang Syne 1 0 Post not marked as liked - Jan 19, 2020 Under Cover of Buzzards 0 0 Post not marked as liked - Dec 21, 2019 Room In The Manger 0 0 Post not marked as liked Archive

  • Sandhill Certified | Kathy A. Bradley | Author and Writer in southeast Georgia | A lawyer by training and a storyteller by nature, Kathy A. Bradley is a writer in southeast Georgia for more than 20 years as a newspaper columnist and magazine contributor.   Kathy is the author of two books, Breathing and Walking Around and Wondering Toward Center. |

    Sandhill is a small house with a big heart. It is a wide porch with lots of rocking chairs. It is deer dancing through the back yard, pausing just long enough to eat the acorns fallen from the sawtooth oaks. It is fields reflecting the seasons and yielding crops. It is home. Sandhill Certified is a place to share the thoughts, habits, writers and artists, and, occasionally, the objects that help me in my efforts to make the world a little more like Sandhill. Kathy A. Bradley 2 days ago This Year's Christmas Play 68 0 5 likes. Post not marked as liked 5 Kathy A. Bradley Nov 28 The Girl With A Wild Imagination 89 1 6 likes. Post not marked as liked 6 Kathy A. Bradley Jun 30 150 Is A Random Number 169 2 7 likes. Post not marked as liked 7 Kathy A. Bradley Apr 19 Maker of Afghans 91 0 9 likes. Post not marked as liked 9 Kathy A. Bradley Mar 26 I Wisteria You Well 90 0 3 likes. Post not marked as liked 3 Kathy A. Bradley Mar 18 Someone Else's Trust 70 0 5 likes. Post not marked as liked 5 Kathy A. Bradley Mar 12 Department of Corrections 149 0 5 likes. Post not marked as liked 5 Kathy A. Bradley Jan 22 Recognizing Voices 154 0 10 likes. Post not marked as liked 10 Kathy A. Bradley Nov 27, 2020 Happy Congealed Salad Day! 91 1 9 likes. Post not marked as liked 9 Kathy A. Bradley Sep 27, 2020 The Making of Sandhill: Heirlooms 70 0 7 likes. Post not marked as liked 7 Kathy A. Bradley Sep 19, 2020 The Making of Sandhill: New House, Old Mantel 69 0 7 likes. Post not marked as liked 7 Kathy A. Bradley Sep 16, 2020 The Making of Sandhill: Before the Build 52 0 4 likes. Post not marked as liked 4 Kathy A. Bradley Aug 31, 2020 The Making of Sandhill: Answer The Door 68 1 10 likes. Post not marked as liked 10 Kathy A. Bradley Aug 23, 2020 The Making of Sandhill: Coloring My World 69 0 7 likes. Post not marked as liked 7 Kathy A. Bradley Aug 20, 2020 The Making of Sandhill: The Beginning 90 0 5 likes. Post not marked as liked 5 Kathy A. Bradley Aug 14, 2020 Hot Sauce, Raisin Bread, and Pimento Cheese 197 0 6 likes. Post not marked as liked 6 Kathy A. Bradley Aug 4, 2020 Pesto Change-O!! 52 0 4 likes. Post not marked as liked 4 Kathy A. Bradley Aug 3, 2020 Catch A Falling Star 34 0 2 likes. Post not marked as liked 2 Kathy A. Bradley Jul 10, 2020 Casting A Shadow 22 0 Post not marked as liked - Jun 9, 2020 My Favorite Poem 28 0 Post not marked as liked

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