Just yesterday, a friend asked me, “what now”? And it’s hard to know. Because my world changed and I wasn’t ready to change with it. Ready doesn’t matter. So, two days ago, I began asking new questions. Looking for new answers. Heart open. It’s time. To start from a place of love and take one more step. Toward light. Toward living. Toward more love. Treading softly as I dream new dreams one at a time. Building them little by little. Sharing them as I go.
It’s almost spring and I thought about my dad this morning. The last frost will be here before long. Dad always knew when to plant and transplant. Between growing seasons. Early spring, early fall, to prevent the least amount of shock. Among other things, he was a Botany major. And while I can identify all kinds of plants and know the difference between trees and shrubs, I can’t grow anything to save my life. I can kill the healthiest, sturdiest plants, or at least make them very sick. Not enough water. Too much water. Light, no light. I just don’t know to care for them. I love them. I should just probably leave the care to someone else. But I don’t. I just keep trying. Because I want plants in my life. And I know one day, I’ll get it right.
One of dad’s favorite things to do, was to go to the local nursery and buy up all the dying plants he could find. I watched him do this. And the owners would look at him like he was crazy. But he got a bargain and they got rid of dying plants. And dad would work his magic and those plants would thrive. I wish I knew that secret. I’d trade it for the keen ability to drive backward, any day.
I don’t think Mr. Milosz would mind that I borrowed his words. They have always touched me in the past. Today, I touched them.
A day so happy.
Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no one worth my envying him.
Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.
To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.
In my body I felt no pain.
When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.
~ Czeslaw Milosz
I visited this tree on a walk recently. It’s in a field behind where I grew up. We used to spend hours… days and nights playing out there. Building pretend worlds. Stories of lives we would live. My sister and brother. Sometimes the kids from the neighborhood. It’s a shorter walk these days. Everything is smaller. The pretend worlds are harder to imagine. And I wish I could talk to that little girl with her freckles and her braids and her eyes that were still wide and innocent and a little too big for her face. I wish I could whisper in her ear, kind things. True things. Things to make her real world as beautiful as her pretend ones. I wish I could make her feel that safe again. That hopeful. Maybe. Maybe I can.
I was writing this morning. About dreams and summer. I was writing about a second cup of tea and the view outside. About the sounds of morning and the promise of the day. Then I looked to my right. At my kitchen. At dishes that clutter my sink. The trash I gathered to go out. A dead rosemary plant. a floor that needs swept. and a clock that says 8:21… The promise of the day.
It seems I am always being brought back to a place of Quiet. Waiting. Listening. Usually after a humbling experience that I hate while I am in the middle of and grateful for afterward. I have often wondered how much time I would save by being humbled first. waiting. listening. waiting some more…
And the lesson is just this… when we forget to cherish… to celebrate… even for a day, the very things we love can vanish. They not only can, they will. I forgot. So, the focus became small needs not being met and petty differences, instead of just being grateful for the very rare experience of true love. To go forward with that regret, is weighty but to stay in the regret is deadly, so on I go. Again. And again with hope. That I have learned something. That I have learned what precious means. That I have learned to protect precious things, loosely. and well. and not to forget…