Sunday, July 22, 2012

Working in Paradise

Judy's figs August 2011.


The Telling that Changes Everything XXII.
July 22, 2012

And Paradise?  And what is Paradise?
... A Paradise without work?  No,
in this Paradise we’re all working, 
And sometimes we wish life were easier.
–From Sun 15, Kostroma, Russia, fall 1995

We choose the
reality we trust, the bonds of affection
that best pull us up to our full height,
egg us on to do our most outstanding
work, give our gifts whole and unclouded
by doubt or dismay.  It’s called an act
of faith.  It doesn’t make you rich, 
but it does make you happy. 
–The Telling that Changes Everything XV.

I designed my own Paradise:
an island of sanity and love.
As I labor to uproot the high
grass weeds, shovel compost
from the hen house, feed and
water chicks six times a day;
as I brainstorm to outwit possums,
squirrels, birds, voles, which
peck, bite, and steal my peaches,
pears, tomatoes, I think: “This
is too hard."  The morning glory
vines that are swarming over
the sweet potatoes and bell
peppers are winning.  I’m losing.
The garden at its peak is
attracting all the thirsty, hungry
wildlife.  Yet I do harvest 
apples, figs, blueberries, tomatoes,
raspberries, cucumbers, and
peppers.  I make applesauce, 
pickles, vichysoisse, and 
minestrone.  I eat like a queen:
raspberries and milk for breakfast, 
cucumber and tomato with my 
cheese sandwich; eggplant
Parmesan or an omelet of fresh
eggs and herbs for supper.  I
drink lemon balm-peppermint tea.
I sleep like one dead, but every
morning is a resurrection.  Insects
bite me; my lower back aches; 
I fall asleep at the computer.  This
year’s hottest summer on record 
keeps me safe inside.  Yet I rise
early and spend the dusk with
the mosquitoes to fertilize, dig,
plant, and water more beans and
okra; pick the unharmed tomatoes
to save for spaghetti sauce.  The
freezer fills for the winter.  I write
and type my books.  The chicks
grow large and feisty.  My creatures
are all alive.  Of course, it’s Paradise.
I wanted this.  My aches and itches,
my exhaustion each night are
worth it to be here in this very
place, yes, working in Paradise.
You better believe it.

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