a river runs through it

Remember when I wrote about the rains a few days ago?  How powerfully they shifted my internal landscape, so that I dreamed of the waters speaking to the things deep down in the earth, and deep inside me, too, readying us to begin the long transition to spring…

It seems those waters were destined to shift things on the surface, as well.  There’s a river running through one of my garden beds.  Okay, maybe calling it a small streamlet would be more accurate.  Nonetheless, it has done some major damage while I slept inside, soothed by the music of the falling rain.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but F. and I live in a little hollow, and the land slopes gently down, ever down, until it winds up on the shores of the local lake.  If this were our land, or if we were planning on staying here longer than the time it takes to finish up grad school, we would surely have terraced everything, as some friends of ours have done in their lovely, permanent vegetable garden.

As it is, and without a major investment for what is essentially a transitory project, when it pours down like this we just have to take the consequences.

Consequences viewed this morning:  garlic bulbs partially uprooted, and all our lovely compost, mulch, and other amendments washed away into the yard downstream, leaving behind a swath of smooth red clay that forks once, to devestating effect, right in the center of the area where I’d planned to plant the early spring peas and some mustard — and already prepped the soil accordingly.

Somehow I’m not despairing.  I don’t know how or why, but in the garden it is easier, so much easier, for me to maintain presence.

I did see the ruin of some carefully made plans, yes.  But I also felt in awe of Mother Nature’s creativity, how nothing stops her from just changing the landscape to suit her pleasure, how she’s all about moving forward into action.

She doesn’t fret about whether it will turn out all right or not.  Every step of the way, things are basically fine with her.  If she doesn’t like a particular result, it’s easy enough to change next season — or begin changing it next minute.

And even if she does like a particular result, well, it’s liable to change pretty soon, too.  She never heard of the phrase “leave good enough alone.”

There’s no grasping, no holding on to what was, no fear of taking the next step, no overthinking, no worrying a decision to death.  There is no need for a deep breath and a leap of courage because, well, all outcomes are part of the wise, life-supporting process.  So there are never any doubts.

I think I needed this message this morning.

When I look at my own life, I can see this same principle revealed over and over again.  All that in the past I took for loss, disaster, mistake, cause for fear or cause for regret, all of it has turned out to be for my good, for my education in the truest sense, for my development as a person, and even sometimes indirectly for the betterment of those around me.  Whether I knew it or not at the time (and usually not), everything was all right each moment of my journey so far.

The river in my garden has, quite unexpectedly, given me strength of resolve where I needed it in my life, and a lightening of spirit vis-à-vis my next step in a certain direction.  After so long contemplating, I am ready to act.

It reminds me of a quote by Theodore Roethke which I love:

“I learn by going where I have to go.”

Namasté, y’all.

14 Responses to “a river runs through it”

  1. Lovely writing… meaning … depth and breadth. I should turn off the computer now… inspiring words of wisdom. I love the Roethke quote too. Thank you! Carol

  2. No matter what you have planned, Mother Nature decides.

  3. I read this and kept thinking this is right in line with your “focus”. Because Mother Nature never seems distracted to me – she’s always focused.

    I love how you have harvested so much wisdom from being in tune with nature, Meredith.

  4. You are a very good writer. The garden has so much to teach us about own lives, doesn’t it? The power of nature to adapt always amazes me…

  5. I love how you accepted this act of Mother Nature with good grace and spirit. Will it be difficult to leave this garden when you are done with school?

    • Lynn, it’s so funny that you mention that. I actually thought about it over breakfast and realized it is going to be really hard to see everything emptied and turned back into lawn… especially poignant thoughts now that it appears the end is in sight, and F. is getting results to make us think the doctoral defense is right around the corner, surely by August.

  6. I wish I had a green thumb.

    • You might have one, Robin. I have a green thumb outdoors, where Nature is taking care of the major work, and a black thumb indoors. If you’ve only tried to grow houseplants before, I’d say it’s worth attempting a pot of something easy to grow outside on a porch or balcony. 🙂 You never know what you’ll discover. (Give cosmos a shot. They are almost sure things. ;))

  7. beautifully written and so true I would agree. I love that we have the intelligence, ability to research, resolve, and ingenuity to try to change the course of things both in life and garden but I guess sometimes it’s useful to think about how we can work with a situation rather than continue to fight it, right?

  8. […] how a river ran through it?  The river is back in full force, its rippling current carrying away the soil, compost, and four […]

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