Flower Bed of Death: Everyday Magic, Day 388

“I have some flowers blooming in my bed of death,” Kris told me on the phone. “Oh, yeah? I have nothing blooming in a whole yard of death,” I replied. Nothing like mid-August in Kansas as we approach the death rattle of a particularly arduous summer.

I start the garden each March with the best of intentions, but I’ve learned to accept that come July sometime, I will abandon all efforts. When the hellish trilogy of Kansas summers envelopes me — chiggers, poison ivy and repeated 100-degree days — I get to the point where I won’t even walk to the vegetable bed to harvest the beans. Who doesn’t love fresh green beans, but is it worth several sleepless nights of chigger invasion to eat them? And it seems too incongruous to spray myself down with poison to pick organic vegetables.

This summer, when we slow-motioned through what seemed like six weeks of depressing weather forecasts (e.g. 100 degrees everyday forever), keeping trees alive and the foundation of the house from cracking by spraying the water hose at them took precedence. Now I’m left with all this death around me, even usually hardy plants such as the take-it-all hostas are suffering.

But all is not lost: the heat-loving sunflowers and osage orange trees go forth and prosper, and the waves of cicadas pour over and under our days, reminding us that August has its blossom, song and big green brain-balls of wonder.

Good Morning, Sunshine: Everyday Magic, Day 226

I took the eye pad off, and there it was: light, bright blue sky with the most pastel of clouds, a pale breeze shimming the bare branch, and the whole world welcoming me. The last few weeks were populated by a cold that wouldn’t let go, regular intervals of herbal and over-the-counter cold medicines in between irregular intervals of travel, and a whole lot of worry about the too many things I had taken on, all of which required heavy-pushing now. In the last week especially, there were wonderful occasions (some of which necessitated Spanx, stockings and high heels) interspersed with frenetic catch-up at the computer and bouts of worry about the three near-adult (or already adult) children. But now the living is easy.

As for the time behind, I once again thrashed around a cage of my own making, taking on too much to keep in balance with living happily in this house of life, in balance with this body. Why? Because I could, because all was thrilling and interesting, and because of habit and hard wiring. Doing too much is akin to eating too much of the wrong foods at the cocktail party (which I also did this week): heady and tasty at the moment, but I wake the next morning with a migraine.

The day ahead? This and that of course, but mostly enjoying the spaciousness of better health and less pressure, the capacity to breathe more mindfully, the cat asleep in my arms as I type this, the birdsong, and the promise that if I just aim myself well, I will be putting tiny seeds in small containers of topsoil, setting them in the sun and dreaming of the garden to come.