“Under the water, the wood duck
feels with his foot in the creek”
-Annie Dillard, Tickets for a Prayer Wheel
I saw the first bud of spring on a tree still shivering from winter. It was a tight, layered ball of possibility. And though we are still surrounded by piles of melting snow here in Glenwood, Iowa - with nearby counties flooding and dams bursting from the weight of ice and rain - there is the hope of something better; the promise of growth and green.
We bought this house in the dead of winter when the deck was powdered white and the yard was a mystery. This past week has revealed a little of what we purchased. There are pockets of structured garden where someone used railroad ties to create separate beds. The rest of the yard is “puddle-wonderful” as E.E. Cummings would say, scattered with skeletal bushes, wispy trees, and some unique lawn ornaments. We have a set of orange foxes, a basket made out of cement, a bird feeder, and a very creepy scarecrow gnome that I want to destroy as soon as possible.
What was white has turned to brown and will soon be green. It’s hard to wait. It was a sunny 40 degrees today and I was tempted to spread out a beach towel on our soggy deck, just to thaw out a little. To soak up whatever warmth I could.
I still haven’t put away my winter boots. But I know that a season is coming when we will barbeque outside, dig our hands into the dirt, pluck tomatoes from the garden to slice up with dinner, and I will walk everywhere. To the office, the coffee shop, the bank. I will walk some of the ache from these joints, some of the ice from these bones.
Sometimes we must do the hard work of healing, of thinking about a thing we have avoided thinking about. I have some of those things stored up like a gift I don’t want to open. But other times, the most healing thing is to soak up whatever sunshine is in front of you. Feel. Listen. Notice. Enjoy the way birds communicate when they get excited. Read a book on your deck. Drink your coffee with joy and thankfulness. The trials won’t stop this side of heaven, so we must usher in moments of peace where we can. Go ahead and grasp them. Hold onto them. Plant them like a garden.
Listen to this sketch
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