Lett's Set A Spell
While exploring ideas for writing this column, I am thinking about growing up in Buckhorn community. During my childhood on Easter Monday we didn’t go to school, and we went fishing at the Cape Fear River for many years until Puzie’s Pond boasted of fish to catch and cook for supper. We welcomed spring’s warm weather and outdoor activities.
Rumor has it that a man stopped at Grandpa’s country store and asked if he could cut some timber off the land below our farmhouse on the family farm. In exchange, he would create a pond so Grandpa (Puzie Lett) and Daddy (Puzie, but called Bud) loved the idea.
That decision changed my life. As the trees came down and paths were cleared of limbs, a large opening emerged in the woods. The shift from tall trees and thick brush to a large hole that filled with water offered me a retreat away from home in the forest. I welcomed the baby fish that fattened daily and were so tame they would eat from my hand as I held the bread in the shallow water.
My sister Mary Carolyn enjoyed feeding the fish and also the ducks and geese that visited there. My brother Jimmy Doyle sometimes swam there in an old tire from a pickup truck. They did not understand my obsession with spending time at the pond and hiding in the woods. When I forgot about time and the sky grew dark, Mama (Ruby) often screamed to the top of her lungs: “Sandy Lynn, get your butt home from supper. You are going to be the death of me.”
My family certainly did not comprehend my need to be surrounded by Mother Nature and how Her soothing energy inspired me to write prose and poetry.
WHILE A STUDENT in Josephine Gardner’s ninth grade English course, a senior from Campbell College (now University) in Buies Creek came to Broadway School to practice teaching. One day he asked class members to write an essay about something meaningful. Naturally I thought about how the pond and the woods were my sanctuary. This is what I wrote:
Through my childhood days there have been many depressing moments. There have been times when humanity has been very hard to bear. So, like many others, I have found a refuge … a place where wrath and tears are shed. Here, I am away from all people. I am away from the good people who would never harm me, and away from the bad people who constantly destroy the bright shore I have so boldly invented. I am away from the whole wayfaring world.
This place is none others than the woods. Here, Mother Nature embraces me in her loving arms. I truly love this world. No other place in the universe can bring me the satisfaction I receive here, and though this place can only be temporary, it is wonderful. I know that Mother Nature will never know how much I love her world; but yet I continue to surrender my mind and heart to her. Though she is as naked as birth and as innocent as white, she knows my outside world and helps me through my heartaches like no human can do. She represents an oasis in my prevailing land of discontent. This oasis can never be conquered by anything or anyone, therefore I have assurance that there is always someone who watches over me.
THE NEXT DAY the teacher made an announcement that one student’s essay was so well-written that he intended to put it on display in a glass case at Campbell for college students to read. He said my name.
That was the first time I actually realized that my passion for writing poetry and prose was a gift that I had to use to express my deep feelings and others might benefit from my insights. Through the decades of learning about life and writing about people and ideas, I continue to release the negative and focus on the positive.
Spring always inspires me to spend more time with Mother Nature, and especially by the pond on my property, and to see life as an adventure that includes storms and setbacks but also features sunshine and blue skies.
AlexSandra Lett is a professional speaker and the author of “Natural Living, From Stress to Rest;” “A Timeless Place, Lett’s Set a Spell at the Country Store;” “Timeless Moons, Seasons of the Fields and Matters of the Heart;” “Timeless Recipes and Remedies, Country Cooking, Customs, and Cures;” and “Coming Home to my Country Heart, Timeless Reflections about Work, Family, Health, and Spirit.” Lett can be reached at (919) 258-9299.