It was just Fourth of July, wasn’t it? That’s what I tell myself — even though tomorrow is obviously August and my new kitchen is almost done and my new gigantic garden plots are well on their way to being ready for fall planting. What’s obvious is that everyday life has been everywhere but here.
Yet — before July 2011 is all used up — I’ll mark these few words in the sand. Because I wish to remember how lovely this fifty-fifth summer of life has been. I want to remember the way I wake up each morning with boundless energy and excitement, the way I jump into work clothes then rush toward the utility room with a parade of hungry canines in my wake. And with dogs fed, how I down a quick cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal while checking the latest scorching weather forecast before hurrying outside to find shovel and wagon before the day grows hotter than any Oklahoma summer has a right to be.
It has felt good to be outside, especially in the soft morning light. As I’ve worked, neighbors have called out greetings as they pass by jogging or walking — with or without a dog. Some offer encouraging words. Surely a few think I’m crazy to be putting in new garden beds — measuring one-fourth the size of our front lawn — in the midst of severe drought conditions. And if so, who could argue with their logic?
I confess to feeling foolish at times, as sweat drips down my face to mix with dirt, wondering if this is how Noah felt when building his Ark with no rain clouds in sight. But, foolish or not, I dig until I can dig no more. Three hours. Sometimes five, if the day is overcast — or if I’m lucky to land in a shadier part of the garden.
Gardening is an act of faith, as much as going to church, I suppose. Though sometimes it’s less. Sometimes it’s nothing more than a wishing well when — down on dirty knees in the hard-baked soil — my mind wanders to my writing and this blog — and to thoughts of how I’m allowing both to wither on the vine without attention — only to console myself in my next thought that I’ll write later — in the comfort of an air-conditioned afternoon. But then I don’t. Or how — usually on Mondays, when I hear church bells ringing nearby, I tell myself I’ll find a good church soon — one interested in teaching a life in holiness — and that I’ll go next Sunday. Yes I will. But then I don’t.
Sometimes I wonder what would happen if we actually did all those things we tell ourselves we’ll do? Other times I wonder what would become of us if we didn’t tell these things to ourselves? Perhaps we couldn’t live in peace without our daily ration of feel-good, well-wishes. Can you imagine living a life without hope — of a better day or a better you?
All I know is that July will soon be over and it feels good to have ended it with a few written words — to know I’ve made good on at least one of my well-wishes in the garden. Still. I can’t walk away from July without closing my eyes and throwing in two more cents: If wishes were negotiable, I’d be willing to trade my little writing feel-good away for a good amount of rain. Yes I would.
Something less than Noah’s would be great.