the rains came hard this week, flooding hard, check-the-sump-pump hard. hail came too. and sleet, the precipitant that can’t decide, is it rain or ice.
that’s plenty pounding for my newborn starter crop, the patches here and there around the yard of cobalt blue and ice blue, and the sudden trumpet flash of yellow piped in gold.
all night, as i lay and listen to the rat-a-tat of hard drops, shuddered at the thunder’s lion roar and falsetto-whistling wind, i worried ’bout my babies. the outside ones. i knew my inside ones were safe under their blankets. were dry. were dreaming.
soon as the sun came out, soon as the squish of all that mud and ooze began to roll away, i marched out on maternal rounds, went out to tend the flock of sodden babies.
oh, there were fallen ones nearly everywhere i trod. some lay gasping still, necks bent, splayed in all the mud. others nearly had expired, their stems cracked, heads banged up all right.
rain when it’s hurling to the ground is no gentle rinse, no element of conscience. it pummels without pause, without regard to miracle in progress.
and so, i began the healer’s work. i gathered up the cobalt heads beaten to the ground. i cut short the daffodil’s pain, pulled pruners from my pocket, severed stems and limbs, all in a mission of mercy.
and as i collected all the injured, the near dead, i knew that i too was gathering my own balm, the stems that soothe my own aching nooks and crannies, the places you can’t see.
i am, it so happens, unfailingly cheered by my itty-bitty sink-side bouquets. from first bloom till far-off november, when the garden’s last is rescued; rescues me, in fact.
i will tuck thirsty stems, tired stems, stems with one last blast of merriment right there beside the spigot, at the cusp of kitchen sink and cutting board, where i spend so many hours slicing, stirring, spreading, sudsing, rinsing.
as the season gallops toward crescendo, or if a storm is particularly merciless, i’ll have not one or three odd bouquets, but a whole ward of the infirm, the maimed, the bloom in need of nursemaid.
i call them my band-aid bouquets.
truth is, the healing is a two-way lane, a commutative transfer in mathematic terms: i heal the broken growing things, give them one last drink and gulp of life; they heal me.
we are each other’s rescue squad.
for, most every day in the heart of any mama–surely any one of those who i know deeply–there is some heavy weight dragging down that four-chambered vessel, the one with room to carry such a varied load.
some weeks, it’s all we can do to keep from slumping at the waist, what with the heaviness we bear inside our chests.
and somehow, through the alchemy of small delights, my sink-side bouquets are there to whisper words of hope to me.
as i wonder and worry–be it work or world or friend or the stumbling of my boys–i glance down upon their nodding heads, inhale their woodland perfume, marvel at their overdose of color, and i am soothed by their mere insistence of being.
i cannot give up, cannot surrender, not when these tender offerings from deep within the earth depend on me for ministrations, for shelter from the storm, to lift them from the mud, to lay awake at night worried for their tender heads.
it is the unspoken, unflagging pact of the garden and the gardener.
we patch each other’s wounds. we heal what hurts. we put band-aid to the broken parts.
and then, arm in stem, we’re strong against the wind.
this is late, today. so sorry. i was out on a field trip till mid-afternoon. the resident architecture critic was climbing tall buildings, peering out through sky-high gothic buttresses with a classroom’s worth of 8- and 9-year-olds. i held my breath–and a few shaky hands–and followed close behind.
here’s the meandering question: where do you find balm when you are wobbly on the inside, especially in your heart?
Lately, my life is a non-stop, gotta-get-there kinda circus. I am an unashamed homebody who would rather be making beds and baking bread than dealing with deadlines and having budget meetings My heart wants to be home.I get my kicks trying to grow strawberries out on the deck, geraniums in the garden window and hydrangea in terra cotta (I adore terra cotta pots). When I’ve sent more memos and e-mails at the office than I could possibly stand, I get home and walk out and see what’s blooming. There’s a certain kind of satisfaction in seeing the pansies holding their brilliant yellow and purple heads up despite the harsh wind that seems to constantly blow here in the northern mountains of Arizona. As I always say, it’s just another hair-wreckin’ day in Prescott!I always worry that the wind will destroy my petite plantings, but they somehow seem to hold up (better than my hair does, that’s for sure). I guess the weather is factored into the genes of the seeds and they just know how to survive. But, just like my poppies did this week, they sometimes need our hand, our tending and our nursing. Maybe it’s just me, but they seem to flourish after a little bit of trauma. Maybe it’s their way of saying ‘thank you’ for our care.
Seems modern life gives us way too many reasons to need a band aid. I have thought about your band aid bouquets more than you know the past several days, BAM. Thanks for the beautiful words, pictures, and thoughts. I’m a scented candle sort of person myself. Nothing calms me down more than a cup of tea, silence, and a good scented candle. Happy springtime to everyone here!
ahh pammy, love you homebody girl. love the line about flourishing a bit after trauma. isn’t that the truth for all of us, as we so perceptibly understand the gift of simply being alive and breathing, the comfort of a favorite chair, our own bedsheets, when at last some hurricane has ended and we are back home, in all ways.also love the thought that even the weather of a particular place is factored in the genes…..i love the thoughts brought to the table. and the thinkers who bring them there. bless you both, and thanks…..next time i light a soft and gentle candle, i will think of you dear JACK.