Perhaps all of life is a book of small instructions. We “finished” putting in the garden on Monday, so I’ve got the seeds chapter on my mind. Seeds end up in the dark. In grit and damp they grow roots down and send shoots up. Reach for the light, the chapter says. You need it. Despite the darkness, spread roots of you into the deeps of unknown. Somewhere, there will be water. No telling which direction or how far. Put out your roots knowing some will find little but trusting enough will be found. Meanwhile, aim for the sun. Getting up into the brightness is easier said than done, of course, but it’s the point of everything.
There is a lot I don’t know right now. Especially about writing, but about also about things with the kids, the summer, next year. The future will undoubtedly come, but it is as yet a stranger. Some days I have dreams the size of the sky, other days I plod along with the watering can, and weed without particular belief that whatever crests the dirt will be something I hoped for or simply something that grew.
Girl one’s eyes are haunting me right now. She’s been off in tears at my disapproval more than once in twenty-four hours. No good reason really. She gets out of bed too many times because she can’t sleep. Her sister fell over, seeming to indicate a violent attack, they both say now that Girl one was just standing there. The only days she has really been ready for school on time were when I was teaching and she was still in utero. Toothbrushes, clothes and book bags stand idly by, while Girl one can focus on nothing except her own magical, floating thoughts. All morning, every morning. So the opposite of Amen for me.
Her eyes beg the question of what I’m planting. A glimpse if I’ll take it, of what I don’t want. And a chance to aim for something else. Seeds of realization and longing plant themselves in me. I don’t know whether to water them or let them die. It is courage I lack, not desire.
Two things are true. One: the essence of a person’s nature doesn’t change much over a lifetime. Two: if a butterfly wing flutter can cause a typhoon halfway around the world, then seemingly infinitesimal choices in a person can surely effect all the change in the world.
Girl one confounds. She also delights me beyond words. I both wade in to reprogram the alligators, and watch admiringly from a distance at the strokes she’s taught them. When I don’t want to tear my hair, she inspires me. (She does after all befriend alligators.)
Seeds start out smaller than what they become. Sometimes smooth, sometimes awkward rootish things, they grow into something you can’t see when they’re planted. Sometimes they die unrealized. Sometimes they come out spindly and break in the wind. Sometimes though, they grow up and down, an invisible promise fulfilled and dripping with beans.
For my alligator girl, I’ll give it a whirl.