The killing frosts have hit us here on the central coast of California. Our nights are down in the 25-degree zone that kills all the tender growing things in the garden. Tomatoes that remained on the vine are popsicles in the mornings, turning to paste after sun-up. My beautiful dahlias are now brown stalks of mush. Normally, this would depress me: Winter is coming, alack! alas! But something’s different this year. I don’t feel like Eeyore.
In fact, I feel pretty interested in life. I’m checking out this garden scenery….
…and I’m thinking, I betcha that puppy has viable seeds in it! I’m looking at this dahlia….
…and I’m thinking, there’s a gift for me in there! I suspect a praying mantis laid an egg case on one of those branches, and I’m going to find it and save it when I cut that dahlia back.
Several things are different in my life this year. I’ve been working with a new AA sponsor, and she’s had a big impact on my outlook. We’ve been studying faith and gratitude, and I’m reading Leo Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God Is Within You. She also was diagnosed last month with stage-four lung cancer. Now we have our weekly talks while she’s getting her chemo treatment. I’m not scared about her future; I’m blessed by her life.
Maybe it’s the added vitamin D in my diet. I’ve taken substantial D-3 since a deficiency was diagnosed back in March. My immune system is vastly stronger than it was last year, with its serial pneumonia and relentless infections. There’s a correlation, too, between major depression and D deficiency. Maybe the converse is true as well, and I’m nutritionally better equipped. Who knows? Is it God or vitamin D? Who cares? Life is good.
The deep freeze around here has sent the sap earthward, but my spirit lifts upward. Tolstoy has affected me greatly, a gift from out of the blue. I caught the tail end of The Last Station a while back, and it sent me on a research run to learn more about his "spiritual anarchy." His study The Gospel in Brief held me spellbound. When the word “deep” was offered this week as a prompt on the Poetry Jam blog, I thought of this poem, written a month ago at a café while waiting for a lunch date who never showed.
The Water Walker
Faith made Peter climb out of the boat
and walk on water for a while until
he remembered people can’t do that
and then he sank. I understand
his sinking; I too have sunk
into the impossible and had to stroke
for shore, arising on reality
drenched and choking.
It’s the faith I want to summon in the boat
that mesmerizes me: to see the liquid
which I know cannot support me, yet
to trust in God’s incredible command
that I be more than bone and flesh
tethered to physics and the imagined
certainty of all my limitations.