finding center

Secret peaches and stolen moments


It’s one a.m. I’m home from work after the first night of our summer Shakespeare Festival at the theatre and I am tired, yet wide awake. We got caught with our pants down tonight, unprepared, scrambling to take care of everyone. We jump, we apologize, we say, “This drink is on the house” to compensate and smile and charm and do what we can to make it right. But it’s like this sometimes, no matter what you do. It’s like this in all jobs, I think. Sometimes you miss. And there’s just nothing you can do about it but try to make it better and hope it’ll go better next time.

I forgot to eat, even. Too wrapped up in “What comes next?” to listen to the grumble of my belly or the insistent whine of my blood sugar as it starts to spin me out of control. Responsibility held me together but by midnight, warm in the car next to Mark, who picked me up and filled me in about all I missed at home that night, I felt my body tug, demand, point out that sustenance was missing. My Mister failed to eat a real dinner too, he reveals. “I was whittling Lily’s wand… in the zone. Totally forgot about eating!”

But this is just it, our lives sometimes. We get involved. We sink in. We forget the obvious. On days where we share overlapping work hours, we steal away into the park and find the hidden peach tree, heavy with fruit nobody else knows to look for. We feel like thieves, snacking on free food we found in a public space. We make plans for retirement, talk of the logistics of becoming people who secretly plant and cultivate fruit trees in public places so people can stumble across them and feel like they’ve discovered a tiny bit of treasure… sweet and sticky and ripe. We calculate the years left before we can let go of obligation and give our time to the things we love. And we do love our jobs… we just love the idea of secret orchards more, sometimes. What will we really do, once the kids are in college or off creating lives of their own?  What have we put on hold to serve a larger vision? And how much can we take now?

It’s one a.m. The kitties are leaping about in  wild shenanigans and my belly is full. I need to be up in hours to get kids ready for camp and myself ready for work. But this moment, in this house, right now… it feels heavy and ripe and sweet. It feels like it could go on forever. It feels like tomorrow (which is actually today) is put-off-able. Secret. How much sleep, no matter how much it is needed, how much is that worth?

Guess I’ll have to find out when I wake.

More from the garden, as it grows right now here

What's next?

Making strawberry shortcake with fresh organic strawberries and this GF cake recipe.

This week, life came at me full force, smacked me around a little and then gave me jacked up dreams (did you know that if you misplace your car at Costco, you might stumble across a lion in the warehouse? TRUTH, SO CLAIMS MY HEAD!). Really, it's not that big of a deal, life. Things happen, you cope, then you say, "What's next?" And most of the time, my "What's next?" is hopeful, cheery and ready. But this week, I had so much on my plate that my "What next?" became something of a horrified shriek.

Earlier today Mark tried to take me and the girls to the lake to ride bikes and I broke down in tears. "I have to do this! I have to get this done RIGHT NOW and you're offering to take me to the lake?" I could have attached a "HOW DARE YOU!?" to that sentence, I was so clearly incredulous. Luckily I heard myself and pulled back. "I feel so guilty right now. I haven't had any time for you or the kids. Please," I begged, "please don't ask me to fix this right now." And he didn't. 

I finished the thing I was working on, took a deep breath, donned my big straw hat and walked out into the yard. Snagging a pair of clippers and a small bucket, I headed to the lower orchard wanting to check on the aphid situation on the citrus. Last week, they came on like a nightmare, those stupid little bugs. I found evidence of white fly on the orange, too. So I spent a few minutes clipping off damaged leaves and breathing in the smell of orange blossoms and collecting the random bits of trash that come in on the wind.

The chickens were thrilled with the buggy leaves I gave them and my heart slowed down watching them race around the coop with their bounty. Shortly after, Lorien showed up with a couple pounds of organic strawberries from Costco (she assured me she saw no lions) and I set to hulling them and getting them ready for shortcake. We fed the strawberry tops to the chickens and cracked up as one of them YELLED for more.

Amazing how healing connecting to the land can be.

There's still too much to do. But half an hour in the sun and some dirt under my nails and I feel like I can start calming down my "What's next?" I just have to get through this weekend. I can do that. Pinky swear.

What's brings you back to center?