Wow! Hang on, folks, what a year, right? Are you crisis weary?
I have been, for some time now. Getting up early each day to water what few trees and plants my water hose will reach, with one eye toward water conservation and the other toward my responsibility to those things I had previously planted…watching world news and political news and weather news…month after month of no rain and triple digit heat…tragic news here and there and there…I remember being in the National Cathedral, and the thought of its being damaged in an earthquake, along with the Washington monument…the Washington monument???
Good thing today happened for me here at Earthsprings. Several things happened, actually. It started off when I awakened from a dream that was most instructive, and then it went from there.
I dreamed that I was at the home of friends, along with a whole group of others dear to me. We were having a great time, until I accidentally dropped and broke a precious dish that I knew had belonged to my friend’s grandmother, handed down to her for generations. I was distraught and so was my friend. She wandered around trying to act as though it was alright, while I came undone, weeping, withdrawing to another room, telling everyone that I had broken several things lately, and that I was obviously getting untrustworthy and unsteady, that I needed just to stay home from now on, and actually that I wasn’t ever going to go anywhere again, and so on. This went on for a good while, with me crying and all the other women sort of clucking around trying to comfort first me and then the owner of the broken dish. Finally, my dear wise friend, Steve Nash, came charging into the room and said something exactly like this: “Alright now, this has gone on long enough! Yes, that was a precious dish, and I’m sorry it got broken. But you know, Glenda, it’s not only your fault; we should not have left that priceless object sitting around where it could get broken. Any of these children might have broken it instead of you, and would you want them never to leave their home again? And OK, yes, you’ve dropped a few things lately, and I know what you’re feeling. You’re just scared, really scared, feeling less capable, more fragile, less in control. But , you know, having those things get broken may have nothing to do with your age or the condition of your brain. It could be coincidence, it could anything. And, you know what, if it does mean you’re getting shakey, and if you do get more helpless, well then, we’ll just baby-proof the house before you come, because I’m not having it that you aren’t coming here anymore! If you don’t, I’ll come get you! Just because you are getting older, maybe more fragile, doesn’t mean you aren’t necessary to us, or that you don’t still have responsibilities to all of us. You’ve still got work to do, girl; you can’t quit. You can’t get to feeling too sorry for yourself and just give up! Now, everybody, pull it together here, all of you, and let’s get on with what we came here to do, have some fun!! The rest of you get on out there somewhere, so Glenda and I can get ready to go take a little boat ride together!” And with that I woke up, tears in my eyes, and with my instructions from Steve (and Life) sounding in my ears.
So I got up, went outside, and did my morning chores with a will. And there I found several other happenings that touched my heart.
First are the “grandson trees,” the little redbud transplants my grandson Jacob brought from the garden and planted all around among the dogwoods near the driveway about a year ago. They made it through last summer and the hard winter, so I’ve been dragging a hundred-foot water hose around every other day, watering them. And I see that despite the 105 degree days, they are hanging on. They first lost all their leaves, but as I watered them, within a couple of days, they dutifully put out two or three new little leaves. But then, those new leaves got browned up. I water, and then some of them put out more new little leaves, only to dry up. But they keep trying, and I keep watering. So courageous are those little trees. I may have lost some of them, but some of them may make it. And every time I water them, I notice that, scurrying out from around their bases, where the water is filling up the little low place around them, come all sorts of bugs and lizards and tiny creatures that temporarily evacuate their oasis. I had no idea that my watering the seedling trees might be life- saving to others too. We never know the result of our actions. When I got animated over the morning glory vines completely covering over an azalea bush and jerked off the morning glory vines, I discovered that those vines had been shading and protecting that particular azalea, so that it was the only one that was still green and healthy looking!! We just don’t know what’s what, we make mistakes that way, thinking we are doing what is right. But we have to trust the deeper wisdom of nature, of the eternal, and just keep on keeping on, somehow.
The other thing this morning that underscored that (and I really don’t know what it portends), is that the “bliss bestowing tree,” so named because its blooms, in spring, smell so wonderful, well, last week it lost every leaf; the leaves just suddenly turned crisp and fell off. The tree had been busy, as usual, in the year-long process of making its flower buds for next spring, and that’s all that was left on the tree, those tight little buds all over the tree, still wrapped in their protective husks, trying to grow. I was devastated, feeling I had failed the tree as I tried to get here and there and water everything and missed it too long. So I put the soaker- hose on it for a good long while, hoping desperately that the tree itself would not die. Well, I went out this morning, and there before my eyes was the little tree, blooming!! Those tight little buds, instead of waiting for spring, were opening up, small and not fully developed, were nonetheless blooming, in the autumn heat, not a leaf to seen, but they were blooming!! What does that mean? Is it the tree’s last hurrah, its final gift? Is it Life, saying yet again, “Never give up, do what you can, don’t wait till conditions are favorable, if you must, do what you must, but BLOOM! Give forth your gifts!” Sort of the same message I got from Steve in the dream, with the sweet smell of bliss added. I wept, even while I kept going to try to save something else.
Bliss in the midst of mayhem. Wow! Be here now. Live now. Don’t give up! Bloom!
Now this is, again, a homely little homily. But you know what? I used to be one of those out there storming the barricades, so to speak, taken up with BIG things, and I value that way of being. But there is also another way, a quieter, more earthy way, a more gentle, Taoist way, I guess. That way is just to be with what is, however it is, however hard or sad or challenging it is, and somehow see the good, and do the good, and feel the Presence of Life, in all events and all circumstances. Not being a Pollyanna; I don’t mean that. It does hurt when a precious thing breaks, a precious one dies, when so much suffering is abroad. It is important to be with that too. Looking it right in the eye, experiencing that deeply. And also. And also. And also, finding a “Yes!” Somewhere, a “Yes, and, “ my life motto, “Yes, and…there is also the good, always some good, some beautiful, that deserves our notice, our commitment, our responsibility to keep on keeping on. ”
At least that’s what I’m telling myself, even as a hurricane bears down on the East Coast of the U.S. shortly after an unusual earthquake and a wild war in Libya and a famine in other parts of Africa and my giant oak tree that is dropping limbs, dropping limbs, maybe dying.
Nonetheless, I’m holding on to my dream, the dream of last night, and the dream of my lifetime. I stand with the bliss bestowing tree, living and dying.
Let us all bloom! Now! No matter what, let’s do our best. Let’s “pull it together” as Steve said in the dream, and do our best.
And, also as Steve said, don’t forget, we’re here to have some fun, no matter what breaks!