Thursday, September 29, 2011

Summer's End

I think today was the last real day of summer for our fair valley. Eighty-four degrees, blue sky.

Caroline Weeds
I told my family I was going to spend the day outside. And I did. Herbs were harvested along with tomatoes, green beans, and the last of the sugar snap peas. Then the beans and pea plants were uprooted, their short, wire protectors removed. The tomato/lettuce garden was relieved of weeds thanks to daughter, Caroline.

Then, I watered my flowers, wondering if it was for the last time. There was a lot of love there, in that gesture.

Not wanting to let go of the last blue-sky-golden-sun day I grabbed the cushion from the chaise, dropped it to the freshly cut lawn, slid sunglasses over my eyes, and stretched out to receive the nourishing rays. Glory! Above me green maple leaves gently swayed on graceful branches catching the afternoon breeze, lulling.  Fuzzy honey bees dipped, and floated.

Half an hour into my reverie I rolled over onto my stomach and began running my fingers through the grass. Thin blades thickly gathered, soften my steps, delight my senses. Hard to believe the days of plopping down to sunbathe have reached their end. Soon the lawn will be soggy, the sky gray, the air cold.

Lamentations rocked back and forth in my head. I don't want summer to end. I've had such fun this year! I'm not ready, not ready, not ready.

Sigh. Deep, long, loud, sigh.

Could it be, I muse, that summer was fun because of something inside of me? A thing that remains? A little attitude, perchance, that may infuse itself into my autumn as well? Yes, that's entirely possible. 

In that case, here's to autumn, to possibility, to keeping myself open to discovery!

Greetings, Autumn! What will you teach me?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pick a Salad, Any Salad

Grabbing my basket from atop the refrigerator I head through the house and out the side door where lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, peas, beans, blueberries, pumpkins, and herbs grow. I realize I'm smiling.

"I LOVE picking salads from the soil!" I exclaim to no one at all. Bending low to the ground I slide my hand into ruffled greens; a thumbnail gently severs first one leaf, then another. Into the basket they go. Today raindrops from a night's quiet drizzle crisped the four varieties of lettuce where they stood. "Perfect!" Peering through sheltering vines I spy three perfectly ripened tomatoes, easily pluck them, add them to my heaping container of greens. Plus basil, chives, and peas. Delicious!

Realization that this garden grows and feeds us because my family and I plant and work it amazes me, makes me happy.

An explanation for my joy is found in my friend, James', recent Facebook post:
‎"Getting your hands dirty in the garden can increase your serotonin levels – contact with soil and a specific soil bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, triggers the release of serotonin in our brain according to research. Serotonin is a happy chemical, a natural anti-depressant and strengthens the immune system. Lack of serotonin in the brain causes depression."
While I never knew the scientific reason for my sustained garden happiness, I have always known there is something good and magical out there, in the dirt.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Filling

Fragile human beings. Overloaded and under energized. Sometimes life beats us up. Badly. But the faithful keep going in the face of darkness, through the gloom. Belief in change and eventual relief sustain until a finger points to God restoring balance and deep breath. "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."

Dispirited shuffling around a corner, eyes on carpet, mind foggy. "Lift your head."

From beyond just washed windows, rising in black sky above a sharply pitched neighboring roof glows - almost loudly - a crater-shadowed, intensely orange full moon. Huge.

Instant clarity and focus. A mind swimming in fear, doubt, and pain suddenly remembers purpose, beauty, realness. And God.

Who is always there.

Especially when situations seem hopeless.

He reminds me that hope remains, along with love. My love for Him. His love for me. Through it all and forever.

Strength enough. For right now.

All in that golden glow that affirms for me that there is something much much larger than my little problems.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Old Friend, This Blog

One season passed since I've posted.

Family, friends, vegetables, flowers, kayaking, hiking, canoeing, swimming in lakes, bike riding, tennis, festivals, food, and laughing. So much good laughing. Good crying, too, shared and bubbled up from hearts grown warm with love in moments tender.

Renewed I pick up where June left off. Caroline and I embrace fresh studies together. Just as my shoulders surged with power while pulling and pushing a canoe oar through summer waters clear and deep, my mind rises to the challenge of new ideas, words, phrases, and disciplines. Trigonometry, government, economics, physics, the history of painting lure me into worlds vast and different. Desire to dig into and move through places unexplored energizes me.

French language resumption finds an elastic mind snapping back, recalling a language unused for a quarter of a year. Muscle memory. Feels good, powerful, natural. Challenging.

Refreshment removes tension's blockage, allows freedom of thought, the ability to concentrate, embrace, enjoy.

Experiences varied and vast awaken thought to analogy, metaphor, simile.

Summer behind, autumn, winter, and spring ahead to capture observation, color, sound, texture, temperature, taste, and spirit.

It's good to be back here, dancing with you, old friend.