Tuesday, January 18, 2011

James Taylor

The recent relentless rain in Austin finally let up today so I was inspired to throw off my flannel pants and fuzzy slippers (the beauty of having a home office) and open my pores to some much needed vitamin D. I walked in circles around the track at our neighborhood elementary school while the sun was setting and the moon was rising. Whenever I find myself between these two marvels at that perfect moment, I feel like I’m getting my own personal realignment from the cosmos. The moon will be full tomorrow so she had an abundance of intuitive lunar magic to bestow, balanced by the orange winter sun lighting my path with its brilliance.

When I returned home I grabbed an O’Doul’s beer and walked around, surveying the landscape that I have essentially been ignoring for weeks now. It’s that time of year when brown is the primary color scheme and freeze stress is the most popular look. The “back 40” is overgrown with bamboo, which is blanketed with the brown remains of wild vines that I allowed to run rampant towards the end of the summer. Even the arbor that we were married under is draped with dead vines, probably a huge feng shui faux pas (if I may mix my Americanized slang use of foreign phrases.)

My lack of attention to all this has been eating away at my naturally guilty conscience, but I was struck by how comforting it was to just stand there and look at it. I never even picked up a pruner or clippers and I still felt a connection and kinship just being in the middle of the chaos. It’s different than the piles on my desk that can also feel like chaos. There’s nothing therapeutic about looking at that mess, feeling the halogen light streaming down from above or the soft breeze of the heating system tickling my face, reminding me of the huge utility bill headed my way.

When I’m out in Mother Nature, it is as if she has been waiting with open arms for me to even stop by for a quick visit. She is not passing judgment saying “hey, we’ve got some overgrowth here, when are you planning to get to work?” The winter greens are still growing in spite of my lack of attention (thanks to Mother Nature’s superb watering job this week) and the kitchen scraps continue to turn into black gold in the compost pile. This relationship is not conditional – she is not going to turn her back on me if I don’t live up to her (or my) expectations. She might not flourish with quite as much pizzazz, but she’ll keep growing and doing her thing, offering me a quiet place to think, move, reflect and connect.

While I stood there in the gathering darkness, I realized that even when I stray far from my garden for weeks on end I will still be welcomed back with no agenda. James Taylor was singing “ain’t it good to know, you’ve got a friend” on my iPod. Yeah James, it is.