Monday, December 5, 2011

Oh, Boy! Deep Freeze

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 cafĂ© 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.


eflores said...

Hello @enchanted oak,
this has a very powerful message. I like the connections you made. God is always there!

Erick Flores

Peggy said...

Hi Enchanted Oak,

Yes I hope we can all be more than our limitations. I am glad you responded to the Poetry Jam prompt and thank you as well for visiting my blog. You asked about the photo of the dress dummies that is from Paso Robles. I took that photo at a small alterations shop somewhere around PR when I went with my son's bride to get her wedding dress fitted in Sept. Our son was married at the Meridian Winery there in Sept. Nice town.

Shadow said...

you're sounding superb! shows in this extremely well-written poem.

Rachel Fox said...

Speaking for the godless, I'm glad you're feeling good.

Lou said...

I'm a Vit D convert. Living where the sun doesn't shine much in the winter, it has helped me with a general sense of well being.

"Trust in God's incredible command" is another awesome way to get a general sense of well being!

Gerry/Strummed words said...

Welcome back to optimism and a new way of seeing the world. Loved your poem.

Jinksy said...

Deep Freeze is my worst nightmare! TV tells of snow in Scotland today - it's creeping closer. :)

Mary said...

A wonderful poem about the search for faith; and I also have experienced the sinking as well at times. Beautiful photos, by the way. And I am glad this winter is looking 'up' for you!

the walking man said...

I like this positive note in your "voice." Try Dostoyevsky's The Idiot
look up the painting referenced in it.

twinkly sparkles said...

Nice post and great poem. A lot to love and ponder there. It is beautiful.

I like the tomato. I like thinking about praying mantis egg cases. I have only seen them once and I don't have them in my yard.

I'm glad the Tolstoy is good for you. I don't read much of that sort of thing (ie, large or long books), but it's good to keep in the back of my mind.

I started to take Vit D a year ago but then stopped because the data on it was inconclusive. It's so dreary and overcast here lately and so many dark hours in the winter, perhaps I will start again.

Depression is too well known to me. I feel like I've been dabbling in it, but not fully in.

Also have a friend recently diagnosed with stage iv lung cancer. Best wishes to your friend.

Thanks, Chris!

Syd said...

The frost didn't hit our garden which is amazing. It was all around in the fields. But all the flowering plants in pots have been moved to the green house. They will be warm and flourish in there for the winter. Glad that you are feeling better this year, Chris. And your sponsor sounds great.

Lolamouse said...

sounds like you've been undergoing some positive changes. I'm happy for you. The poem is excellent and expresses the wish for faith very well.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Glad you're feeling better. Vitamin D deficiency is a growing problem in the general population.

You're in the twenties at night in California and we're slogging around in mud and rain. This weather SUCKS and there's no poem for that. No way to make it better through words.

I love the Water Walker. Faith is not an easy thing.

Kristin H. said...

Oh, Chris, vitamin D supplements changed my life! I hate to sound all Tony Robbins about it, but its true. My depressive symptoms and niggling illness vanished once I got that stuff in my system. Good luck!

Brian Miller said...

i want that faith back myself...i had it once...interesting enough i sat and talked to a friend this morning for an hour on this...and i am trying to put my finger on what changed...

Ray Sharp said...

Lovely poem, the way you connect the Biblical and your own struggles and faith. Buoyancy is a metaphor for faith: how can a boat, heavier than water, hold itself and us too? and don't even think about airplanes:)

Enchanted Oak said...

Okay, Ray, I am NOT thinking about airplanes.

Helen said...

Shame on that lunch date that never showed .. however, we are the beneficiaries!!!

The Bug said...

LOL at Ray - yikes! Although I find the concept exciting (the reality is more boring than a bus ride).

I'm so glad you're approaching this season with hope - it's usually a tough time of year for me too, but I've been unexpectedly excited about the coming snow.

Titus said...

Oh, that was wonderful, in many ways.
Astounded that there are still tomatoes in your garden to freeze!

And such clarity in the writing. Love the strong, sure lines and this one
'that I be more than bone and flesh'
is a marvel.

Enchanted Oak said...

Anyone wondering about Tolstoy (long and large) out there: The two volumes I reference are skinny little buggers (339 & 177 pp), nothing like "War and Peace" or "Anna Karenina."

Ed Pilolla said...

faith is something that eludes me often. i grew up with a proud sense of skepticism. but i'm not doubtful all the time. i have my moments of knowing and believing and expecting, whatever ingredients make up faith. i liked your poem. the moment of peter going under is a moment of failure, but i wonder if his even getting out of the boat was a major accomplishment. i wouldn't have left my seat had i been there:)

thanks for your comment on my blog much.

myheartslovesongs said...

it takes all kinds of faith to move forward in life, doesn't it? faith in ourselves, faith in our relationships, faith that we are where we are supposed to be....

beautiful, Chris! ♥

e said...

Glad to hear you're getting stronger. When did you notice positive things from Vitamin D? I just started taking that myself.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Mostly I look forward to the dormant season because it lets the earth rest and ready for the next beautiful spring, I love the smells of each season too, winter is so crisp.


steveroni said...

Ahhh. The lessons of nature...ya gotta die to be born again, and generations produce!

25 F. would not be my paradise. I think hell is probably ice-cold--on many levels. If it was really, truly hot, I might give it consideration --grin!


PS How do you find time to construct these gems, and tend to the requirements of the 'poetry' blog? You must live in a room alone, have meals brought in, etc...LOL!

The Cello Strings said...

love the message here.

superb teaching in your poem.

Templeton's fury said...


Thanks for the suggestions about vitD. I am gonna start taking some to see if it improves my mood, or at least takes the edge off :) I also liked your pretty pics!
Just for Today!

Jessica Maybury said...

hey lady :) I liked your wilted vegetables. I should take photos of my garden...including the very dead christmas tree from last year that's still out there by the bin.

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