here comes the sun

For a few days, anyway.  I have been, at last, completely occupied with weeding for the past couple of days, and as usual am dumbstruck by the elegance of its restorative beat.  Gardening is one of those things, I think, that you either are REALLY into, or you are REALLY NOT.  As I looked out onto the weeds and trimming and detritus and mud and whoknowswhat (squishy and yeughy wormy things)  in the garden, I thought, uh.  Really?  I’m doing this?  AGAIN? Am I nuts?

And the answer to that, Gentle Reader, is yes to at least one of those questions.  My couch-oriented-of-late muscles welcomed the pull of the familiar labor, the back appears to be deciding not to go out,  and the overwhelm I felt at first has turned into a huge feeling of grateful relief.  The task spoke to me, relieving me of any decision making.  Just pull those weeds…yes! right there! then around this corner.  Each plant greeted me and seemed to shake itself off and grow bigger right then and there upon being weeded and trimmed.  The toads urged me on and Tyrant spun through the air.  And then?  The piece de resistance.   

Yes, indeed.  Because there right in front of me, revealed by the weed removal, was any gardener’s dream.  Tomato plants, right there, sprouted from the zillions of last years tomatoes that somehow landed in a seed dispersing sort of way.  All different kinds, all over.  And?! BEANS.  The chartreuse/purple bush beans, some of them, fell into the dirt in September-  sort of an experiment which I promptly forgot I was undertaking.  (This year I really am keeping a gardening journal.  Really.) We now have the beginnings of a good bean and tomato crop, plus potatoes and a lot of bok choy.  And hollyhocks and nicotiana coming up like crazy.

As our lives are currently constructed, neither the Partner nor I really experience routine ability to feel satisfied about  the actual chores we do, because it is all so Sisyphus-ian.  Sometimes it seems we are in a story by Annie Proulx. (In other words: Grim.) We are constantly restacking the rocks, like Milarepa and Marpa the Translator.  But of course, just as in the old story, this turns out to offer just what is needed because:  In such circumstances you either adjust to doing the task each time as a fresh experience- kind of like how a dog chases a tennis ball- or you become non-functional.  So, we are now seeing at last the beginnings of the coalescence of…this new and different life we have.  Things have a shape, our existence has a curve and a limn to it, and when I saw the newly cleared garden, I distinctly heard everyone say: We’re here! and we’ll feed you again this year!  Isn’t this amazing? and don’t forget the strawberries!  All this was even before the Partner saw the wild turkey who seems to have taken up residence in front of the yurt, and the Extremely Handsome Mr. Mourning Dove with his rather large harem.

This was accompanied by another realization, one which has come after what feels like decades of armed struggle.  This is about how one deals with fear.  Fear has been a huge part of my consciousness, process, everything, for ever.  Apparently I arrived with some trepidation to begin with and life gave me the full course on being scared, frightened, afraid, terrified, endless free fall.  Finally, I got tired of it, especially after gaining a tiny foothold of perspective on my brain chemistry, and thought- no more of this.  What I see now is that very often, the fear we feel is fear of feeling fear.  Right?  The anxiety rises and suddenly there’s that old familiar watermelon in your chest ready to explode.  If at that moment of awareness you can realize what is happening- that you’re afraid of the fear- it can begin to turn around.  You don’t really have to do all that weird stuff and sink into those hellishly awful moods (or whatever variant of that iteration happens).  And as you go forward into everything that life presents, eventually it becomes clearer and clearer that yes, shit happens.  A lot.  But being afraid of what might happen does nothing except cramp your style since it obliterates any ability to think critically.  You can be in a warrior stance- which is calm and aware- rather than a combat stance- which is hypervigilant and involves poor breathing- and get to the point of saying: Well.  Who knows what might happen? I’ll do my best.  Of course that means that everything the inner critic is bullhorning into your ear has to be put on hold, and the intrusive thoughts that burst into your head like cars into plate glass windows have to be viewed as pictures and not instructions.  I bet almost everyone has had what we’ll call murderous impulses in the course of their lives- the issue is what you do with how you feel.  It isn’t easy, but it IS a worthwhile goal. Weeding helps, as it happens.  So does remembering that we are all on a very short, long journey and lots can happen, the road can be in any number of conditions, and we ourselves may be variously in excellent condition or in a body cast.   The tests are the same, regardless, and the point may be to realize that our opinions about what things mean may need to be jetissoned like too much luggage.  We can meet life’s challenges pretty much no matter what, if we choose to.  In any case, here we are and the more we can connect with the truth of ourselves as human beings, the better we’ll do at whatever we do.  I must say, the garden really DOES look nice.   And, in somewhat related news, The Hummer Ranchero situation seems to be at a point of detente.  Even if it did involve a veritable ring of ripping chainsaws roaring around the ridge at dusk in response to a particularly jarring tune, still, diplomacy has, for the moment, prevailed.

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