Ahhhh, it seems spring has sprung. One day my yard was green. The next day I saw lions everywhere. Dandelions, but still…
Now I’m sitting on my front lawn with the dandelions. I can almost hear them yawning as they soak up the sun. A velvety spider just ran across the top of my bare foot. I couldn’t feel her, but I watched her until she dropped down into the greenery again. I can hear someone somewhere playing basketball. The ball bounces on cement and then I hear it hitting the metal rim or something besides net.
I am barefoot and barelegged in the sun. When I was a kid, I was barefoot most of the time. My father wanted us to have shoes on when we were in the house, but outside, I was barefoot. I don’t ever remember being bitten by a bee or a wasp. Maybe I was, but I certainly never worried about it while I was barefoot. As an adult, I rarely go barefoot outside because I’m worried about stepping on a yellow jacket. And as an adult, I worried about exposing my skin to the sun. But now, today, I’m bare. I’m exposed.
I am sick and tired of worrying about everything.
I often wonder if worrying has actually made me sick.
But no, that’s not what post is about. I’m sitting on green looking around at ’lions and poppy leaves. The poppy flowers aren’t up yet, but they will be soon. Our yard is the glory of the neighborhood once the poppies bloom. Orange, orange, everywhere orange, as though the Sun itself has come to Earth. Later, the escaped mint will come up down by the sidewalk. Honey bees will cover the mint. If you stand by our mint patch for much of the summer, you can listen to the bees going about their business. It is a wonder to behold.
In the school yard not far from here, the lone old oak is beginning to leaf out. I watch the oak and think of the many years we have been neighbors. Beside me, one of my many rosemary bushes is budding. I can’t see the purple flowers yet, just the white buds. This rosemary bush started out as a small branch that I pushed into the dry dirt many years ago. Wherever I live, rosemary lives. Perhaps it is easy for everyone to grow. I don’t know. I only know that it is quite prolific around me. This bush has overtaken our sidewalk, and I should trim it, but I can’t bear to do so.
When I walk around our wild yard barefoot today, the grass feels lush and cool. I look around at what is growing especially well this year in my yard. This tells me what kind of medicine I may need or what kind of teaching I may get. Besides the grass and the dandelions, the lamb’s ear is looking well and abundant. I just planted it last year, though, so I’m not certain what its natural state is. The yarrow is coming up next to the lamb’s ears. It looks healthy, too. On the other side of the house, the valerian and angelica are also looking good. Last year, the valerian grew to tree-size. No doubt, I needed valerian last summer—the summer of smoke and fire. I’m hoping this year will be more calming than last year.
When I walk to our backyard, I find bumblebees dipping into the lavender-colored blossoms of my older rosemary bushes. A few honey bees are likewise partaking in the bounty. A few times lately, a bumblebee has tapped on the window in my room when I am working. Since this tapping might be the bumblebee’s way of saying, “Come. Leave your gilded cage. Step into my wilderness,” I always stop whatever I am doing. I get up and go outside.
Do you suppose the birds, insects, trees, flowers, and clouds wonder why we spend so much time in boxes? Do they see our cars and houses the way we see birdcages, corrals, and dog houses?
Ahhhh, now the neighbor is mowing the church lawn. Too much noise. That drives me indoors. I watch the two next door children plucking dandelions and daffodils from their yard. I want to go out and explain to them that the flowers will last longer if they leave them be. “And oh the secrets the plants can tell you about the universe. About your very soul.” But I don’t interfere. For all I know, the plants already spoke to the children. They could have said, “Pluck our blossoms, children, and take us indoors.” After all, plants are much smarter than I am.
Sometimes, it is all quite...bewildering. Sometimes, I am quite bewildered. I make plans to stave off the bewilderment. My plans so often do not come to fruition. At least, not in the way I intend.
I don’t think plants make plans. (I suppose they have biological plans, or at least a biological blueprint. Maybe I do, too, but I tend to ignore or fight against that.) I have made conscious plans since I was a child. I always believed that if I just figured out things, well, then, I could figure out things. Or if I made plans, I would be safe. I would be all that I could be.
Plan and plant come from the same root. Planta: sole of the foot. After I find this out, I laugh as I walk around my yard barefoot. My plan, my plant, my foot exposed. My sole exposed. My soul exposed?
I suppose that’s what I do every time I walk barefoot. My sole against the skin of the Earth. Against the soul of the Earth? When I walk barefoot, I am exposed. I am vulnerable. I am showing my love and affection for Nature, my desire for true connection.
I wish I could do that every moment of my life: Live exposed. Live with vulnerability. Live with love and compassion. Instead of closing down, instead of going inside my gilded box and closing the door.
Perhaps that will be my new plan...
...one day when I am making plans again.
For now, I am going to go hang out with the ’lions. Wait, I need to take off my socks first. There. Much better.
(The photo is of one of my rosemary bushes. This photograph, along with this essay, is copyright © 2013 BY KIM ANTIEAU and neither can be used in any way without my written permission.)