Thoughts on Winter

December 1, 2014

Because I am having some kind of passive aggressive fit with my calendar, I woke up this morning thinking I had a coaching call to take up the morning and instead found just a little sticker indicating I needed to give the dog her heartworm prophylaxis. Such different things, yet perhaps quite the same. And so I got down on the floor and encouraged the dog to fully eat her who-knows-what-flavored little chunk of medicine.

And because it is December, and the days are growing shorter and darker, I found myself visiting the shadowy realm of metaphor land. I thought of the many times I’ve been down on the ground, and how one never really plans to be there but yet it seems to be the presence required of the moment–and always a perfectly fine place, at least until you try to get up on aging knees.

One: Shepherding a rooster to the afterlife, giving it food and water and whatever comfort I could on the floor of my “craft room,” aka “where small animals go to die.” Repeating the process with yet another rooster. Giving a chicken a sitz bath, and having both of my legs fall asleep. She didn’t make it either, but was put down at the vet and then returned six months later, when they called and said “We still have your chicken. Please come get it.”

Two: Years ago, when my grandmother died and I kneeled down to tell the kids. The older one cried. The younger one, apparently buoyed by my amazing modeling of take-charge small-animal funerals, said “I’ll get the sage stick and some carrot sticks.” No. Yes. Maybe. We do what we can.

Three: Last summer I planted a garden. Six four-by-four raised garden beds, wild and overgrown after many unsuccessful years of drought, rain, and neglect. It was time to mix new soil out of peat moss, top soil, and manure. I’m too short, the rake is too long; it’s hard to get leverage sometimes. It was easier to get down in the dirt and swirl twelve bags of lobster shit around with my arms. I hated it, and loved it, and the zucchinis were miraculous.

Gardening, as with so much else, is all about faith, even though it seems it shouldn’t be–you put seeds in the ground, the sun shines, rain falls from the sky, and things grow, right? But not always. Maybe this happens for no reason, or maybe just to keep us humble.

I’ve realized I’m not the praying sort, but I’m the listening sort.

So sometimes when I remember, but mostly when I just find myself there and not often enough, I sit on the ground and listen. No. Yes. Maybe. It’s all good.