glad to see you
Some of us believe in defending food crops from chickens, others believe in hand-feeding them gooseberries.
Some of us believe in tossing weeds in the compost, others believe in washing them lovingly in the sink.
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.
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.
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.
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).
|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|
|Future or past||Present|