I’ve never seen this flower before this year, but several grew up along the road. Facebook friends said it looks like an Evening Primrose. Maybe a bird dropped the seeds. Did you know that according to WebMD Evening Primrose oil can be used for all kinds of maladies like eczema, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, nerve damage caused by diabetes, osteoporosis? It supplies helpful fatty acids and is powerful enough you don’t want to take it with blood thinners. Weeds can help us heal and feed bees and butterflies, other insects. When Bruce mowed the shoulder I was surprised how sad I was that these flowers were gone because they marked my walk to the corner and back, the dogs sniffing, checking out the “news” from the coyotes, a bit of color, a bit of delight, in a wide horizon of shifting light and fields.
We went out to eat with our across the field neighbors. We’ve not seen them all summer because they’ve been busy, we’ve been busy. We talked about our news over fried chicken at Grubsteakers, a restaurant that was wrecked during the EF 5 tornado. We laughed over this dessert which looks like a certain emoji if you look at it from the side, giddy from Mr. P’s health scare. I scolded them for not calling us so we could visit and say prayers.
On the way home, the night too dark, too early, we talked about seeing UFO’s. How they darted across the sky and then stopped dead still and then darted across the sky again. I told them that my brother swore that he’d seen one land on the flat behind our house. All I ever saw were military helicopters landing in the valley south of our home, where there were mysterious pools of mud, and the air dank and chill even on hot days.
It’s been a tough year for farmers because the spring rains and now fall rains are keeping them out of the fields. I’m losing hope for a third cutting. But the rain coming in and staying, charges the air with energy. A person doesn’t have to feel guilty for staying quiet–reading or taking a nap. The sun, the roaring wind, a beautiful day aren’t testifying against me for not getting out, riding the horses or mowing the lawn.
When I walked out the road on Saturday, I looked to the east and saw plates of clouds moving towards the sun. They looked like floating islands, like you’d want to hop up there and catch a ride. Imagine what the fields and farmhouses would look like from that perspective. The clouds made me think of how Jesus is supposed to return in a cloud, how He will catch his people up in the clouds on that day.
But when I looked to the west I saw the steel blue plate of a hard rain coming on, the beans glowing yellow against the sky. They are getting ready to harvest. A hard rain could knock them off the stalk. I walked the dogs home, turned the horses out and sifted manure and shavings without checking my phone, so I could bring them back in, thunder banging in quick succession. (I bring them in when the storms get hot. Earlier this summer a horse was struck by lightning, the only bolt in a storm that rolled through quick. Here’s a poem I wrote:
Lightning strikes the buckle
the only steel in the field
hotter than flames in the sun
weaving the colt’s blood
into lace along his body,
the colt rising,
hitched to chariots of fire,
commissioned to God’s use
the pale, or black, or red horse
hauling the winds aside,
smashing terror to the earth,
a horse rearing and stomping,
sending sparks into the stars,
grief to his mistress
who just now threw her legs over his back
matched spine to spine,
bodies chatting with each other
inside leg to outside rein
the colt’s legs lifting to the air
lending her strength
and speed and breath.)They say if the black band is wide on the woolly caterpillars we’ll have a harsh winter. They say if the brown is wide we’ll have a mild winter. But what if the black band covers the entire caterpillar on one and a brown band covers nearly the whole thing on another? The Farmers Almanac says it will be a snowy, cold winter. Usually through the summer, I’ve forgotten last winter, but I can’t stop thinking about the plates of ice between our house and the barn, the plates that locked up the paddocks and the risk it took to let the horses out, let alone my fear walking from the house to the barn pulling my water buckets in a wagon, fear my legs would fly out from under me, the plates smashing my head.
It’s like we never had a summer. Bruce and I think the weather has shifted to the right–Spring coming when it should be summer, Summer coming when it should be spring. Winters more rain and ice than snow. Now is the season of the deep dive into darkness. We almost feel dizzy with how fast the darkness is swelling. And the days are wet. It will be a late harvest.
There’s delight in my husband wielding a sledge hammer with grace and power and not slamming his fingers. And delight in a fence that has been twisted and broken finally being repaired, so that instead of broken boards and bent wire, you see straight boards. The horses have no reason, other than itchy butts, to break this because they are together. I knew they could come back together because they stood over the concrete water trough doing their kissy, kissy thing.
I’ve been reading The Book of Delights by Ross Gay. He was challenged to write about one delight for a day for a year. He says, “It didn’t take long to learn that the discipline of writing these essays occasioned a kind of delight radar. Or maybe it was more like the development of a delight muscle. Something that implies that the more you study delight, the more delight there is to study” (xii). (I first heard about him on Krista Tippet’s On Being show.)
I’ve started looking for delight and thought I’d share some of what I’ve found that lifts up my heart. I think delight in God’s good creation can be a way to shake our fists at the worry during a time when our politics are unsettled and the world is drawing tight with tension like a bowstring.
And then there is the baby chick that surprises you by hatching out.And the sunsets. Always the sunsets.
Tell me what has brought you delight these days?
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