Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Peace in the Garden

Now I've gone and told on myself, posting about some of the harder times I've lived through. There's more where that came from, and I can see it's good for me to write about it all. Cathartic. So over time, very slowly, most of the rest will probably end up here as well. Very slowly - one doesn't want to miss opportunities to do happy goofy silly posts too. No no no!

Besides...for now, I'm thinking of a different purpose than catharsis. If I can, I want to explain why I'm living on *gravy time,* and why I react to that fact the way I do.

Are you beginning to see how it's easy for me to be a happy person, to be so open to absorbing the good in each day? It's a common enough paradox among people like me. It happens that way sometimes, after you're supposed to be dead several times over, after you really fully appreciate the fact that you could easily die for real tomorrow.

As can we all.

The difference for people like me is that we really know it, we've had experiences that drive that truth home.

I'm not saying everything's always 100% great in my life. Of course it isn't. I have some rough things to deal with, and pretending that's not the case doesn't do anyone any good. I want truth. I love reality, with all its good and ill.

If I let the hard parts punch me in the gut all the time, though, it hurts me twice.

The first time? That's just life doing what it does. You know. What happens while you're making other plans.

Not in our control.

But the second part? How we react to what happens to us - now, that IS in our control.

And an underlying theme of my personality, something I was born with, and born strong, is this: I want to be in charge of my own life.


NOT other people's.

I have no interest in controlling others, with the sole exception of acts of self-defense. I have no children, and don't take care of anyone who's incompetent, so self-defense is the only legitimate need to control anyone else that occurs in my life.

Which is a good thing. Because controlling others simply doesn't work.

It's distasteful too. Very.

It's also, in my personal moral code, a significant breach of ethics.

Just as it's a breach for others to try to control me.

Now, other people trying to control us is different from acts of fate, of chance, of happenstance. It's a willful act, done by another human, by their choice.

But in both cases, my reaction to the influences upon me is up to ME.

I don't have to react at all.

I can react in self-destructive ways, and for many years, that's what I did.

I can react in ways that keep my life, my heart, in my own two hands.

Which is actually what I always wanted - and finally, finally, learned how different it was from self-destructive behaviors. That wasn't freedom.

This is.

So after yet another Doctor Day yesterday, Monday, after sleeping for most of three days last weekend from an allergy overload, there's still nothing to stop me from the real joy I take in tending to my yard. I went outside yesterday after I got home from the doc and the pharmacy and Walmart. It was already 1:30 in the afternoon. High pollen time. Way past my noon bedtime already.

But why not? As long as I'm not falling-down-dangerous sick, why not stay outside and breathe that pollen for a while? There's nowhere I have to go until Thursday; there's plenty of time to recover before then. And the healing power of my yard was way worth the price.

I visited with my flowers, I nurtured the drought-stricken ground with compost and mulch. I planted some more flame lily tubers. I cleared out space in the back yard, disentangling a stack of wood that's been seasoning for almost two years, stacked up there since Hurricane Wilma. Now THAT's an accomplishment.

I discovered that one of the most magical flowers you've ever seen is getting ready to bud and bloom, on a strange plant I rescued from the side of the road. Oh, yes, I snatched it out from the jaws of the chippers! and brought this thing home. It has the most God-awful thorns you've ever seen outside of some cacti.

As it turns out, it's an extraordinarily rare collector's plant. It bloomed for me once last year, and I still haven't been able to identify it, although I've narrowed it down some. Since then it's made a number of pups. Should I ever get around to holding that yard sale I keep threatening to do, and selling some of these pups, I would probably charge $100 or more per plant. All this from a roadside *rescue.*

I saw neat critters, ruddy daggerwing butterflies and giant swallowtails and an especially pretty ringneck snake. Harvestmen spiders. Loads upon loads of nice healthy earthworms, which are both high compliment and happy discovery to any gardener. I picked ripe mangoes from my mango branch, and their fragrance had me suddenly salivating on the spot.

My yard is my church, and in my church there is peace.


sue said...

I love your attitude.

Wish I could see your garden - I so enjoy my own!

prettylady said...

I want to see the strange thorny blooming plant! I LOVE those kinds of things!

Spring is finally arriving up here, and I'm growing my flowers from seed this year. The process of watching them germinate, sprout and grow is infinitely more fun and rewarding than just buying them already blooming. The fire escape is really crowded.

And I just posted on exactly the same theme, of non-control and response to others.

k said...

Huh? You'd like to see some pix of my little sweethearts? Uh, twist my arm. OKAY OKAY I GIVE!!! UNCLE UNCLE UNCLE!!!


Sue and Pretty Lady both - I'd love to see your gardens too. Can I say I'll show you mine if you show me yours?

Pretty Lady, there is something very different about growing the little tots from seed. It's far more bonding somehow. You really feel that sense of bringing forth new life that way. I bet your fire escape is the wonder of your building.

There have been many other times I've read posts of your that were right on subjects I'd just been thinking about. That happens with DC a lot too. It feels a bit odd at first, like you hear an echo but you know, you KNOW, you did not say that thought out loud, so how in the world is it echoing back to you off those distant rocks?

Desert Cat said...

Dear lady, may your gravy time run long. It will break my heart when you go.

k said...

Desert Cat. I heart you too.

I wish I could make you a sanctuary somehow, a place of peace and quiet contentment. A refuge that's never shattered by harsh words or discontent.

I hope that's what's coming around for you in your valley.

Jean said...

So glad you had such a lovely afternoon.

D.C. made me get all misty...

k said...


You can see from our footprints, here and there in comments, why I call him my *true blogdad.*

I have the best blogdad in the entire 'sphere, bar none.

And then, way beyond anything to do with blogging.

prettylady said...

Oh, my fire escape is WAY boring compared to the pictures you've just posted. I must wait until the Strategic Moment to post anything remotely interesting.

And yes, D.C. rocks.