Whenever my sister and I get together laughter breaks out. We relied on laughter to carry us through dark days of a difficult childhood and it has proven to be a habit worth retaining. She still jokes about being "The Mole People." Held captive by our mother's fears and forays into darkness, we often spent perfectly beautiful sunny days huddled behind heavy draperies in darkness. We played games, told stories, acted out dramatic scenes, watched waaaaaaaay toooooooo muuuuuuuuch tv, and ate what we could find. We knew the curtains would open again . . . at least we always kept that hope alive by furtively parting the curtains and taking a quick peek. The stabbing shaft of sunlight hurt my eyes but warmed my heart. Ever the optimist, I assured my sister we didn't belong to the mole family, but rather held lineage to the kingdom of fairies. Like Thumbelina, we lived in a world we did not choose and our very emotional survival depended upon the nurturing of hopes and dreams for a better life.
If you ever visit my cottage or that of my sister you will see that we have the barest of window coverings to let in the maximum of sunshine. Though not a "morning person" in the classic sense, I crave the light. Even moonlight enchants me and you can often find me wandering the gardens by the light of the silvery moon. In days gone by (a.k.a. the diaper days) my dear husband would set up halogen lighting in the gardens late at night, wherein I would tenderly plant out the pony-pak of beauty that I worked into the budget for that week. Our country neighbors didn't mind the lighting, in fact I think I provided a lot of entertainment for the "regular folks" who watched tv after dinner. "What's she up to now?" one would ask. "Just planting, like always," the other would reply; then they would return to fighting over the remote control. And so my garden grew by bits and pieces in sunlight or moonshadow.
Over the years my need for sunshine and fresh air remained constant. Dark and stormy days invited me to don a cloak and mingle among the raindrops. California winters rarely rob of sunshine for very long, so I have never worried about all those theories of depression and sunlight. Rather, I dance to the tune of sunshine when it presents itself and hum it from memory when it has fled. All those years ago in the darkness of summer I learned to sing sunshine for my own benefit and that of my sweet sister. At times throughout the years one of us stumbled and forgot the tune, but the other always stepped up alongside and carried on the whistling. Tomorrow holds promise; life subsists on hope. Though the fashion of blaming parents and circumstances for woe in one's soul lurks in every counseled moment, the truth sets us free. Dancing to the tune of sunshine keeps my step light and my enjoyment of the moment healthy without the weight of blame or the task of placing it.
My precious children have been raised with a blurred line between indoor rooms and outdoor rooms. The backyard in our first house-with-a-yard (as opposed to the condo-with-a-flower-filled-patio, which none of them remembers) earned the nickname, "The garden room." Though not large, the yard had everything we needed to grow fresh veggies, pretty flowers, and fragrant herbs which attracted all manner of life. We planted butterfly-friendly flowers and reaped a bounty of Monarchs pausing for a rest along their migratory path. When we left that garden for another, we planned and planted to attract butterflies, birds, and lots of furry creatures. (Okay, so we uninvited the deer with a big fence -- sorry guys, you eat too much!) In addition to our flower-filled dell, fountains splash with refreshment, streams run with life, and nature sings a symphony of joy each day in our little place called home.
Today, I put on a twirly dress, grabbed a smart-looking hat, and set off to take inventory of the garden damage after so many smokey, HOT, neglected days. I walked from place to place in fascination at all the growth that had occured since I last strolled the paths. I plucked fresh berries, sprinkled parched pots (and my dusty toes), and surveyed the tractor-damaged areas, which to my delight seem easily repairable. In the heat with the buzz of life all around me, I paused to thank the Lord for keeping me in His care through all the dark days on into these light-filled ones. He loves me in the dark and in the light, because I am always dancing in His Sonshine.