Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Limits I Place On Myself

This June day, life explodes around me. The sun is out, it is warm, and all of life is teeming, growing, expanding. The swallows soar and dive, their iridescent bellies glisten in the sunlight. Everywhere I look, there is life and vitality.

Yet, I can easily dwell in the thoughts of what has been, and is no more. I can grieve, I can mourn, I can ignore the beauty of this June day, and instead, remember the death and gloom of a cold December day, and all that has withered and died. I can dig deep into depression. And, I can dwell in the house of gloam and doom.

“If I were to wish for something, I would wish not for wealth or power, but for the passion of possibility, for the eye, eternally young, eternally ardent, that sees possibility everywhere.”
---Soren Kierkegaard

In the sunlight of this June day, all things are possible, and the warmth of the soil, the song of the birds, and the new flowers all dare me to cast away the gray and gloom of my thoughts, and, instead, see all that is possible. It is a gift to me, and I dare not refuse it.

The wind chimes sing on the invisible puffs of wind, as this evening’s weak clouds begin to move in, promising rain, and new growth for tomorrow. My seeds I planted in the newly spaded flowerbed will rejoice, knowing that I have cleaned out the weeds, and last year’s remnants of flowers. The grapes I have pruned, weeded, and fertilized send out new leaves, daring the rain and the cold of the spring to come again. But, it is June, and the Solstice is coming. And, frost will not return until October. Life abounds now, and I am part of it.

Last week’s burn on my finger from the oven heals, new skin forming, the depth of the wound more shallow with each day, despite my clumsy efforts to reopen the wound and find new blood. I manage to rake the wound across a blackberry vine, bringing a fresh ooze of blood. Yet, despite all my efforts, there is healing, rejuvenation, and new life. Rejuvenation will not be stopped.

In February, my genetics and cholesterol worked hard to clog three of my four heart arteries, and struck my heart, nearly stopping blood flow to my heart, killing heart muscle, and nearly causing my death. Yet, the rest of me resisted, and I began to stabilize, taking in oxygen, and healing the muscle that was destroyed. New life courses through my arteries. My body now craves nutrition and exercise, and every day, I grow stronger, finding new energy, new vigor within me. From simple food, clean water, and sleep, I grow and I thrive. From my front row seat, it all seems to be a miracle, this rejuvenation, this healing, this growth.

Despite my occasional dance with depression, and despite my wrestling with the genetics of my body, I go on. I take stock, I pick up my spear, and I begin to heal, and I begin, again, to seek life and growth. I reject the limits I have thought I could place on myself, and I move on, move ahead, and grow, again.

I pull the weeds, I mow the grass, and still, soaking up the simple forces of water and sun, the weeds and the grass come back. They always do, every spring. They will go on and on. Such is their mission.

The tree that looks dead at the end of the winter now sprouts new leaves and bursts into life, taking the energy of the soil and of the sun, and not only comes back to life, but grows, aiming its energy skyward. Yes, winter will come again, and yes, part of it will die. Such is the cycle of life. But, it will live on again, and, when spring comes again, it will send out new leaves and move, once again, skyward.

The flowers I planted a month ago now come to bloom, vibrant with color and life, next to the chime that sounds in the invisibility of the evening wind. In the last few days, these plants have taken in the sun, the warmth, and the fertilizer I put out last week, and have grown, achieving their destiny as agents of growth and beauty. More miracles, this life, this flowering, this new abundance of color on the deck, next to the wind chime.

One of our cats sits nearby, at peace, taking in the warmth of the evening, the chimes in her ears dancing with the wind, and she is at peace. She comes near, allowing me to pet her a bit, before she moves on, taking in the peace of this evening, and the beauty of June. She sees the possibilities of this day, and so should I.

I went into town this morning, to run my errands, and to visit the new public market. Hundreds of my neighbors and fellow “locals” gather in what, for most of my life, has been a closed down storefront, one of the “empty holes on Main Street”. It was a bank, in my grandmother’s day, and a home for several retail shops when I was a kid. The building was always run down and faded, for most of my life. There are rumors it was a whore house, with tunnels under the street to where the speakeasies were, during Prohibition. It was a rowdier town back then, back when the loggers and the mill workers and the fishermen came to whoop it up on Saturday nights.

Yet, today, it is open again. Reborn, the old brick inside now clean, the home for new entrepreneurs, and a stage, where the community choir sings the hits of the 1960s. I sip a coffee, and listen with my friend, as this old musty building now comes to life. I will be back, to enjoy lunch with my friend, and coffee, and to peruse the merchandise that brave new entrepreneurs are offering. Life is coming back to this place, after many years of death.

I had never thought it possible, to turn this musty place into a new market, the local agora, with great possibilities. I had had my doubts, and I wasn’t’ afraid to share them. Yet, despite the odds, and the years of shoveling out the trash and cleaning things up, this place is coming alive. And, I didn’t see the possibilities. I had set a limit, and, like so many others, said it couldn’t be so.

I sit here, the evening cooling a bit, and sip my wine. I play my guitar, and have a new song in mind, I think. And, there is dinner to make, and conversation with my wife, and maybe the cat will sit on my lap, and want another pet. Or not. After all, it is a summer evening and there is much to be enjoyed.

--Neal Lemery 6/5/2010

1 comment:

Wanda said...

So glad you are coming back to life...and to live.

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