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glad to see you

2013 August 8
by Rachel Turiel

season6

Some of us believe in defending food crops from chickens, others believe in hand-feeding them gooseberries.

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Some of us believe in tossing weeds in the compost, others believe in washing them lovingly in the sink.

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Some of us believe in taking shelter from rain during salad greens-processing duties, others (thanks, Tucker!) believe in soaking it up as if we were benefitting as much as the plants we’re harvesting.

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Some of us believe in hiring a professional hair cutter, others believe in DIY bang-trimming with dull craft scissors.

More than the slant of sun at day’s end, it’s the hollyhock-sunflower jungle crowding the garden walkways that signal the midpoint of the season. Every year I wait for these blooms, admire them and then hack ’em down to clear out sun space for the tomatoes and their fruiting cronies. And every year I forget that this is how it goes.

I forget because each season is a sensory immersion in now. How can I remember the grim chore of lopping the hollyhocks when they’re star-spangling throughout the garden? Pop. Pop. Pop. It’s like during forever-January when I’m puttering along indoors wondering if jigsaw puzzles count as homeschooling, and then suddenly the snow melts, green things emerge from nothingness, and I’m a parody of my own surprise: smacking my head because who knew spring was going to arrive, again.

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But, trudging to the chicken coop with a bundle of cut hollyhocks and sunflowers (which the chickens regard with stoical hope) I get that vague, unsettling, grasping feeling of arriving at the halfway point of something fleetingly precious, like those gf brownies from Bread, or a good book, or…a season.

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And, mygod, summer is a festival of everything that winter is not, namely life bursting from every crack of earth and sky. Stepping out in a t-shirt at 7am to retrieve a palmful of tomatoes and chard bouquets for the morning omelet is the new normal and I could get used to this. The kids need nothing more than to be turned loose (at the river, in the woods, in their very own yard, in the Ott’s raspberry patch, where the term “cash crop” was lost on the 6 and 8 year old raspberry guzzlers). In fact, my new job description as parent is: the one who turns the children loose. Every child I see wears a veneer of summertime freedom, and it looks good on them. And yet, everyone I know can feel change in the air.

And really, something is always slipping away while the next thing presents itself as unsentimentally as green growth in spring. My mom gave a wonderful talk at our local dharma center last Monday on “transforming relationships” (hint: it starts with transforming ourselves). There’s love, she said, and there’s attachment. Love feels like this: “I want you to be happy.” Attachment feels like this: “I want you to make me happy.” Attachment to summer feels like this: “don’t leave me.” Love of summer feels like this: “I’m glad to see you.”

I’m working on freely, unconditionally loving summer rather than being the one who needs to be pried, blubbering, from the squash patch in a month. I want to step into the stream of summer-everythingness, rather than wring my hands on the shore over what’s already sailed past. Even if I have to put my free-love costume on over my true self, the one flinches writing the date—August!—on a check. The one who wants to request an extended visa for summer to stay just a little longer.

So, I’m practicing.

Summer, I’m glad to see you.

For reference: (also, wondering if this applies to tomatoes, which I feel very conditional about).

ATTACHMENT                                                                     LOVE

I need you to make me happy I want you to be happy
I need you to be a certain way I care about you
Don’t leave me I’m glad to see you
Unrealistic Realistic
Conditional Unconditional
Pain Peace
Future or past Present
Confusion Clarity
   

xo,

Rachel

Related posts:

Garden Tour
Skijoring in Silverton
post-holiday magic


12 Responses leave one →
  1. August 8, 2013

    I read through this several times because it is so beautiful. You really have a way with words and capturing the essence of universal feelings. I appreciate you so much!

  2. Andrea permalink
    August 8, 2013

    Oh I will be referring to this many a time in the next weeks. I also have unhealthy summer attachment issues. Like, don’t go, you just got here last week! I am already feeling the anxiety of gray skies rolling over head.

    And your dear, sweet mom! Wish I could have heard her presentation. Thanks for summing it up for us. Now… Off to go get my vitD and practice being glad.

  3. August 8, 2013

    Oh — that chart helps, today! I may print it out and post it on my wall.

  4. August 8, 2013

    You know, the other day I was thinking to myself, “Why do I spend all winter waiting for summer, when all it is is rain and deer flies?” Even worse than being attached to summer, I’m attached to the IDEA of summer, which the real thing only occasionally lives up to. And now I’m feeling an uncomfortable analogy to children and parenting coming on, so I’ll sign off before I have to soul-search on that one.

  5. August 8, 2013

    Sharing this with all my Yukon friends! I lived in the North (and I mean, Alaska North) for 5 years and it was so very hard to let go of summer when it truly just arrived. We used to say the 4 seasons in the Yukon were June, July, August and Winter!

  6. kim permalink
    August 8, 2013

    i can’t believe how timely this is…..that little chart there at the end is sort of saving my life right now :-) i found you a while ago through a few other great blogs….and you are definitely one that inspires me in such an authentic way! you are a wonderful writer….thank you for being out there!

  7. August 9, 2013

    Oh, I love this. The annual startle that spring has come again – every year I’m shocked, and every year I hope I continue to be! – and the essential difference between attachment and love. Oh, thank you. xoxo

  8. Ania permalink
    August 9, 2013

    Such beauty in those words! Living in Florida, I miss winter or any other weather that is not hot and humid at the same time. I learned to love the summer skies and storms though.

  9. Emily Reynolds permalink
    August 9, 2013

    Thank you for all of this Rachel!
    I would like that chart tattoed in my monkey mind.
    I’m very glad to see this!

  10. Lauren permalink
    August 11, 2013

    I read this at my kitchen table while shelling peas from our garden thinking about how so much life! has to be crammed in to 3 months. Then I started thinking about homeschooling(?) and setting up my greenhouse to avoid that cramming in some way. Thank you for the inspiration in a different way of thinking.
    PS I live near you and would love a tutorial/tour on composting as I seem unable to produce anything worthwhile.

  11. August 25, 2013

    as always to say exactly what i’m feeling just more eloquently x

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