Despite nearing late September, the sun is bright in the sky. As is my norm on most summer weekends, I’m out on the deck reveling in the afternoon’s warmth, LoveJunkie sprawled at my side, recharging her own solar energy in the sunlight. Yesterday I spent the day in Harrisburg, not because I was having fun but because my beloved Jeep’s fuel pump gave up the ghost and I was stuck, waiting for a tow back home. Not one of my better weekend moments, but sometimes that’s just how it goes.
But today is a new day. A quiet day, still full of potential and possibility. These last several weeks have been a continuous rollercoaster of upheaval, and I’m supremely grateful for the quiet of this day — of any day, honestly. I’m noticing these moments of quiet more; perhaps because they’ve been so few and far between. Perhaps I’ve finally adjusted to being alone with my thoughts once again. Or perhaps I’ve simply run out of steam to resist. But today the sun is restorative, both to my spirits and strength.
The last time I spent time out here, I was trying to correct weeks of neglect that my summer traveling had brought about. I inspect the nearby planters now, and I’m happy to see there’s a lot of fresh growth. Everywhere, plants are bursting with new buds and blooms. There’s a sense of competency and satisfaction in the observation, knowing this rebounding of life was my doing. Without really thinking, I set about clearing the few dead branches here and there that were too far gone to respond to my previous ministrations. I trim some enthusiastic trailing greenery, remix a couple of planters that had barren patches, and reroot some ivy into the hanging planters of geraniums. Reestablishing structure and digging my hands into the warm dirt is satisfying, and I marvel at how this has somehow become second nature. It feels good to reconnect with the earth.
I sit back and idly dig dirt out from under my fingernails. Somehow, several hours have passed while I’ve been puttering among the plants. I reach for my coffee but it’s gone cold from neglect; I put it back on the table. I finish moving the last planter into place and look around at my mini-retreat. It’s clearly back into growth mode, lush and green, and the splashes of reds and oranges and pinks and purples are reigniting with promise. I’m not blind to the parallel in my own life; at times I feel as though I’m living a gigantic metaphor. I realize all the challenges of the last few weeks are still with me — Death and estrangement. Familial dysfunction. Reorganization upheaval. Work uncertainty. Fuel pump failure. But in the warmth of the sunshine in this moment, in the here and now with dog by my side, I’m at peace in the quiet of the day, and that’s good. Each day that passes makes me a little bit stronger. Another step closer. Another day healthier. That’s something I can hang onto and appreciate. Stillness. It’s always a process, isn’t it?