It is that turning time. The cicadas tell of it. The sunflowers, losing some of their mighty stature, mumble the inevitable.
The weather, the hue of late summer sky, the orange blooms of all that pulsates now, especially the marigolds, take me to California and to the edge of the western border, to the edge of my heart. Two people are getting married. Two people have overcome fear and regret–which we all do, every day, if we are honest. But today, they’ve stepped into a kind of giddy joy that seems the realm of children. Today, they step toward a promise to show up for each other. To know each other.
I deadhead the marigolds, popping off one withered bloom after another. It’s satisfying, and if I had a field of marigolds, I’d do it all day. Weeding has been my meditative practice this summer, this summer of heart tending and mending that follows the summer of bellowing grief. Bending low, pulling, letting the sky hold me from above, I marionette my moves.
As I go, I think of how what I want most is to love and be loved by someone I’ve known a long long time. Someone who knows about that gas station in Tennessee. Or that time at the rheumatologist’s office. There was no gas station or any rheumatologist, but if there were, this person would know. The certainty that this is impossible, that there is no such person available, makes me heave a sigh, bend lower, and search for secrets in the dirt.
It will take two years, I was told by some, three years by others. How long does it take to accept that that which you thought you had, you do not?
Later today, I’ll return to the hospital to see my friend who is recovering from surgery. So much that she thought she had, she does not. So much that she didn’t realize she had has been boldly surfaced for her.
In Washington, our president scrapes away things we thought we had. Certain rights, certain dignities, all being pared down without our say. We are being challenged to find connective tissue we’ve too long overlooked.
To tend. Tend to that which is here and that which is possible. I long to put a blanket over my head and sleepwalk through the rest of this life; to pull the grate over my heart and let only the most necessary of fluids flow in and out. But the marigolds bid me into their golden centers. Echoing back through their siblings across the globe–for they are truly an international and ancient clan–they sing: Keep waking up.