Taking another day of respite . . .
and maybe another . . .
* * * * *
Such bliss to don garden gloves and escape to the gardens for some peace and respite amongst the blooming roses and budding autumn clematis. What’s this?!?!? Roses gone rogue? Shoots shooting to and fro, barring safe passage down the walkways? When did these canes sprout in medusa-like proportions?
And so the gentle stroll took on the likes of a deadly task, until . . . a few snips and the tossing of wiggly thorn-encrusted tentacles onto the stone pathway and then a child happened by and joined the task, hauling away the dangerous detritus. Said child enlisted aid of another child wandering the path and the laboring one found herself with four more hands to hoist the prickly product. A passing husband added another set of aiding appendages. The task became a lark filled with laughter and bursts of cautionary warnings as the REALLY BIG STUFF came down swiftly.
Soon the task of pruning ended and the long-awaited assessment of sprinkler problems happened. A swift trip to B&C Hardware solved the nagging problem of toting watering cans to fill in where broken sprinkler heads failed to reach. As that project spun away in success, an empty flower bed caught my eye and a vision of herbs in a “patchwork” pattern, much in the spirit of Disneyland’s Storybook gardens, captured my fancy. The plans spilled out amongst the gathered gardening ones. Then a call for a retaining wall and a fresh load of soil floated about with nodding heads seeing another new garden plot in dreams for even greater produce next year. Tasks and toil melted into dreams and ideas and led to a time of counting our blessings.
August traditionally depletes this gardener with its heat and relentless dryness. This year the heat persists, but hovers considerably lower than in past summers. Rain forecasts predict October droplets . . . maybe. No one puts spade to ground for new garden beds this time of year, but it serves as a wonderful time to stroll the gardens, assess the progress made in the past year, notice failures, and dream for the coming season. Our single apple-on-the-branch continues to ripen and entice us to dream of the tomorrows in the garden when we will be toting heavy-laden baskets to the kitchen for baking and canning and eating with abandon. This solitary apple serves as an appetizer to hope.
In between the gardening tasks and gardening dreams I managed to write a bit, read a bit, cook a bit, and laugh a lot. Gary and I even managed a convertible ride through the mountains, straying so far to capture the beauty of view and verdant landscapes that the moon beat us home. We drove down the lane to our cottage with darkness falling and Gary decided to turn off the headlamps and test all the turn signals on this vehicle we use infrequently. I laughed at the blessing of a man who keeps things checked and running, and I laughed even harder at his truly unique methodology. “Normal” cannot be counted on around here. : D
My day of respite and rest included NO BLOOD PRESSURE READINGS. I have appreciated all the comments, emails, and encouraging ideas regarding my medical mishaps. I agree that my “normal” may be a bit higher than the statistics would indicate, just as my heart rate has always exceeded the “typical.” I feel great and my immune system seems to be standing at sentry because we had a close encounter with “the dreaded contagion” in the flu world and not a one of us succumbed. We have decided to prudently keep our community events to a minimum during this time of heightened fears of infection, but truthfully we celebrate these simple days of tethering to the hearth.
Speaking of hearth . . . the herbed chicken stew with sourdough (whole wheat) dumplings received rave reviews at dinner last night.
Even my dumpling-disliking daughter Elizabeth found the solid lumps to be tasty and enjoyable. I cannot rave enough about my cast iron dutch oven. Once the cool days set in and the woodstove hums merrily all the day, I will attempt to cook atop it. My last woodstove did not have the cooking plate so the top proved an unsatisfactory stove. But, enough of wintry talk, fall has yet to show up to the ball and I have many tasks at hand (most pleasurable) before I can dance in the turning leaves, let alone the falling snowflakes.
Tasks . . . a never-ending call to time-management, self-control, and simplification. I look around at the empty teapot. Today I indulged in orchid oolong – my favorite tea in the whole wide world. Such a sweet perfume and delicate flavor, but due to its extreme cost I employ pioneer common sense and sprinkle a few of the precious leaves into a tea infuser filled with silver needle tea. The silver needle serves a mild hostess to the fragrant orchid leaves and the whole pot bows to the orchid’s reign. Thus I sip a frugal cup of luxury and sit here praising God for another wide-open day of beauty found right under my fingertips. I shall not leave the home again today, except maybe to take a drive or dine at our favorite Mexican casa (it is date night, after all) – maybe luxury will rain upon me further and I will receive both dinner AND a drive. Ah the thought of such bounty makes me smile.
Today I entitled my journal entry: Gentle Living. Simply Rich.
Having known poverty and wealth, having known hunger and surfeit, having known bondage and freedom, having lost loved ones and gained new ones, I count my life RICH for what I find in the simply joy of a day’s worth of blessing blossoming with abandon all around me. There once was a time when I discounted what I had and set my sights on riches out of hand. The frustration of that endless journey caused exhaustion and collapse that forced me to sit. Having lost the drive I gathered what lay within arm’s reach and found it satisfied. Sadly, once refreshed and invigorated I stood up and caught sight of the far horizon and once again my ingrained human habits jerked at the reigns. Each day requires me to decide. Today I choose to live in this moment and it feels so good.
Wisdom grows with age, but my restless human spirit weaves tethers of shiny gold distractions across my path. Care must be taken with each step . . . but I so often run with abandon, tripping, falling, skinning my knees, and bruising my self-esteem. Fortunately I heal and set out again. I will never “get it” completely but I have found a good many folks that will reach out a hand or offer a kind word of encouragement when needed. You have all been a blessing to me. I thank you.
And now I must away from this box and don an apron for some breadmaking and then add a straw bonnet for garden tending and then . . .