Letter from Birdland: Learning to rest and trust the process
Tonight in Birdland the frogs are so loud I can hear them through the closed window. Chi-chi-chi; Chi-chig; Chi-chi-chi-chi.
The weather is still mild, and I'm still recovering from foot surgery, slowly but surely. I traded up from crutches to a walking boot, but I still have to keep my foot elevated most of the time. No walking out to pick the bounty of peaches, the first crop ever for these trees. Even though they are beginning to fall.
And the chickens have discovered how rich and juicy the flesh is, golden sunshine distilled into a sweet nectar that the sun-warmed fruit can hold for only a few days. No! The ground rolls by the peach trees, and you could stress your foot even with the boot. Ellis will bring them in when he has time, if the chickens don't eat them all first.
No gathering of eggs, either. Even though the chickens are beginning to fill the nesting box I nailed up in the garage. (Ursula had learned how to get into the coop to steal eggs one by one, and taunt us by eating them on the front walk, leaving the shells as evidence of her doggy gluttony. Now the hens lay them out of her reach high on the wall.)
But if we don't gather them often the chickens will try to hatch them, and it doesn't take long for an embryo to begin. It's not far to the garage.
I can get them. No! Keep your foot elevated. Michael will bring them in when he comes home from work.
It is expressly forbidden to check the garden coop. Look deep in the riot of big squash leaves for the bright yellow, waxy fruits lighting up the shadowy green! They would be so good steamed with butter and a little salt and pepper. They would be so easy to pick.
No picking of arugula or cucumbers, either. And don't even think about crawling around to see if the second planting you did before the surgery is coming up. Or checking the tomatoes for tomato worms. Weeding is also prohibited. No watering anything. You could get your foot wet inside that boot and that's a no-no.
You will have to get by on the good will of others. But here comes my uncle, David, with a peck each of green beans and apples that Pam has sent over. And here comes Ellis back from the aunts' house at the end of the lane. Aunt Jane and Aunt Kate have sent down even more apples from their tree. I put my foot up and peel enough for the next pie.
I can see from the window my hollyhocks are blooming and the heads of sedum are beginning to bunch up like white heads of broccoli.
And, Surprise! The ghost lilies have come up and are about to open. Remember those? They first arrived in May with a bang, the leaves growing a couple of inches a day until they were 2-foot-tall bunches of flat, green leaves, like giant blades of grass. But then they fizzled out without further fanfare, first falling limp and yellow to the ground, then completely disappearing.
But don't worry. That's what they do every year. They don't look busy but deep in the ground important work is going on, all in preparation for the real show in August. This time clusters of dusky rose-colored fingerlike buds rise silently from a crisp stalk. Once again growing by inches, they reach full height — about knee high or taller. From those fingers, pink trumpets unfurl with a delicate scent. I can see them from the window, but I can't quite smell them. If only I could go outside.
Meanwhile I hope underground work is going on deep in my foot. The bones knitting and healing so that someday I can stand again on my own two feet, and repay the kindness of those around me. I need to take a lesson from the ghost lilies: that sometimes you just need to rest and trust the secret process. Then, let the trumpets unfurl!
Wait in beauty; trust in peace; blessed be.
Mary Lucille Hays lives in Birdland, near White Heath. She doesn't mean to whine, and she is grateful for all the generosity of her family and friends. But she will sure be glad when she gets her stitches out! You can read more about Birdland and see photos at http://www.letterfrombirdland.blogspot.com. Hays can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.