Commitment

Sometimes the gardener is herself the garden.

I’m two-thirds of the way through year 59, and I’ve been decisively editing my attitudes.

Here and there were habitual thoughts that had grown so thick and spread so wide, they were choking out other thoughts, more useful ones, happier ones, even prettier ones.

I’ve tried tackling these habits in the traditional way, by getting to the root of them. I mean, don’t we think that if we get to the bottom of some issue, understand how it became an issue in the first place, we can correct it?

What works with dandelions or rampant campanula doesn’t always work with the psyche.

So, with some forthright guidance from my long-time nutrition counselor, Marsha, I changed tactics. I’ve done two things: Deeply accepted the state of my mental weed patches, and loved myself anyway. I stopped denying that I was terrified about my future and gave thanks for my present. I said out loud that I was tired of being fat and gave thanks for my strength and flexibility.

Next thing I knew, I was getting an inkling of what might bring me joy. I accepted being anxious about not knowing how to get from here to there, and let myself imagine all the joy anyway.

One morning, I looked in the mirror and saw a dear and remarkable friend. I said to her, “I weigh 147 pounds.” And we giggled at each other. I actually weighed considerably more than that, even though I’d reached my “summer low”. It was the same summer low I’d reached over the last several years, the low that let’s me zip the skinny jeans, and still the low I was never able to crack.

It felt so good to say I weigh 147, that I kept right on saying it. I’d say it as I got in the car, and my posture changed. I’d say it walking down the street, and my step lightened. I’d say it standing in front of my open closet and choose different clothes.

A few weeks ago, I stepped on the scale. It must have been wrong. I stepped off and stepped on again. Four times. It read 5 pounds below the summer low. A week later, 7 pounds below. The skinny jeans not only zip, the muffin top is gone.

Today, I took all my winter and early spring jeans, capris, and skirts to Goodwill.

As to the joyful future I’ve let myself imagine: To be continued…

Advertisements

An August Spring

This marks the sixth week since wildfire poured like lava into the northwest edge of the city.

It may be years before many lives are resettled, homes rebuilt, and traumatized souls find gentle peace.

Even as I witness and feel the ongoing disturbance, now, as I drive up through the devastated neighborhood, a strange thing happens: I feel a welling of joy. I have the great good fortune to be present at a rebirth and to lend a hand.

From the garden I am helping to restore, I see a wild meadow greening. Some of the Ponderosa, given only a few inches of rain, have pushed green needles from their branch tips. Up on the hillside, too far away to photograph, a shrub shines in the Chartreuse glory of new leaves. Birds sing. A hawk cries.

Several helpers and I have been carefully removing what branches and twigs the heat destroyed, revealing new life. The work is irresistable. The young growth makes me giddy.

Around two weeks after the fire, a rose, spirea, Euonymous alata “Compactus” aka dwarf burning bush, and Rose of Sharon had only tiny leaf buds hidden in brown stems. The meadow beyond the garden looked like a moonscape.

Five weeks later…

In the patio bed, lungwort, lupine, hyssop, daphne and more offer all the freshness of May.

Rosa “Nearly Wild” prooves just how tough and cheerful she is.

Petunias in rowdy bloom, were only basal leaves after the firestorm. We keep looking for the wild turkeys to come hunting and pecking through the emergent meadow.

Initially, I’d thought this honeysuckle was gone. It’s not only leafed out, but just beginning to bloom.

Though much here and more elsewhere is lost, the regeneration commands my joyful attention.