The Murky Pond

My warm season wonder quest has been delightful. And it continues. I’m discovering the wildflowers here and new kinds of trees. I’m noticing the difference in lifecycles between the Pacific Northwest, where I live now, and the Northeast, where I lived for 45 years. I’ve watched salamanders mate in the murky pond. How do they find each other? I planted seeds in a raised bed that have sprouted and are well on their way to being salad. Fruit trees are blooming in the orchard and I found trillium in the woods, wild irises along the trail, and camas in the tall grass. It’s heaven here.

Billie Best writes about finding peace in a murky pond.

But my quiet time wonder is also about the people in my world. I wonder where we are in the process of our evolution. Some are asking what it will take for people to put their country before their political party. I’m asking what it will take for people to put their species before their tribe. Maybe it’s the same question. Seems like there have been a lot of UFOs in the news lately. How will we handle the aliens if we can’t even handle each other? 

These are my thoughts as I dig in the dirt. We all fear extinction, the end of our ideas, the disappearance of our way of life, the threat of a new way of being that we don’t understand. Here on the hill, we haven’t had enough rain. Already there have been wildfire warnings about big winds in the dry forest. I think about how those wildfires could be a metaphor for our times. The water level in the pond is down. Will there be enough water? The lilacs are blooming already. Are they blooming too early? Will I survive? Will we survive? I wonder. 

Then I smell my arugula. My nasturtiums are finally leafing. I see the different colors in my mesclun mix and I’m already tasting chopped greens with olive oil and salt. There are so many bees in the orchard that the trees are vibrating. I tell myself that fierce buzzing is joy, not anger. I wonder if our susceptibility to rage is symptomatic of our generalized anxiety. We know intuitively that we’ve allowed the destruction of our natural resources to go too far, but we feel powerless to stop it. There is a dotted line between globalization and colony collapse disorder. In a world where most people still don’t have flush toilets, everyone wants to be the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. No one wants low wages, but everyone wants cheap stuff. Dichotomies abound. Seeds that sprout into two leaves are called dicots. I get it. 

On my knees in the garden, everything is connected. Hose water smells like salvation. I think we are going through something here together, all of us, me and you and the plants. This juxtaposition of beauty, nature’s bounty, the pleasing arrangement of things, and those fearsome changes, the news of the day, the scenes on our streets. How can such extraordinary goodness co-exist with such a fierce disturbance in The Force? Can I find peace staring into the murky pond without knowing what lies at the bottom? Yes, I can. And that’s the wonder of it.    

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