I begin by pulling wild weeds and raking fallen leaves. I whisk a winter’s-full of caked loam from stone steps. The dirt provides my manicure and the sun warms and massages my stiff back. A deep breath, the first in many months, hands me softly-scented sweet air. My mind shifts. I step back from task complete, into stillness and contentment.
It’s not that I don’t want to write, but so much of my time, my thinking, is entangled with him these days. I no longer feel comfortable telling you about our interactions. It’s become a bit more serious and it’s not fair to him to share without his knowledge. But, without this sharing, I have nothing left to say.
Strip away our conversations, our dates, our exchange of ideas, and my musings on him and I am a ghostly, diaphanous creature these days. That’s frightening. Can I really lose myself so easily – and only after a few months? He called me a “pleaser” last week. I bristle at that moniker. To me, a “pleaser” subjugates their wants and needs for another. On the contrary – I want to share my delight in the world’s pleasures equally, not one-sidedly. I want to please him – and be pleased in return.
Saturday night found me alone – and feeling LONELY. What new horror is this? I’ve spent hundreds of Saturdays alone without a second thought – and now the silence is deafening. I finally retreated to P’s house for some company.
Fear is creeping in again. How can he continue to like me if “I” no longer exist? I’m trying to find myself – especially the part of me who writes here. I spent yesterday in the back garden, cleaning up the mess the winter has left behind – raking leaves, pulling weeds, cutting back dead plants. Four and a half hours of this moving meditation. Tonight, yoga – the greatest tool I know for reconnecting with myself, grounding myself – and hopefully once again finding my substance.
“Our gardens are symbols of home rather than seduction. Young people with fire in their blood are seldom found in them. The garden is the scene of middle age, of the slow passage from sexual excitement to domestic routine.” – Roger Scruton
A favorite weekend pastime of mine is spending lazy sunny summer afternoons up to my elbows in the dirt. Sigh.
The nectarine tree in the yard is pregnant with fruit. The firm, juicy orbs are just days away from their peak ripeness. I’m envisioning the warm crisps and flaky pies I’ll soon be making. The heavy clusters of fruit have already broken a large branch. I should have culled them in March, but I missed the chance and always feel guilty not giving each one the chance to ripen. A few sun-soaked fruit on the East side of the tree are already ripe. I had a fresh bowl of slices sprinkled with key-lime juice this afternoon. For my late night snack, I’ve concocted a ham and nectarine sandwich with tangy mayo, gruyere cheese and a bit of peppery arugula. Summer has arrived.