full of promise

The sun has been out for two days now and the overgrown grass is finally dry enough to cut.  I anticipate the kiss of the warm sun on bare arms and legs, and the joy moving around in the bright afternoon while working outdoors in the yard.  I feel the weight of so much expectation in the activity of pulling the lawn mower out of the garage, adding some gas, priming the engine, and then pulling the cord to fire it up.  It starts, but something is wrong.  The engine is turning over too gently, and after just a minute, dies out completely.  Pull to start again.  Nothing.  I am shocked at the reaction I have to this uncooperative machine.  I feel tears rising in me, and the flood of emotion that signals, “I don’t have time for this!”  I go straight to the little prison cell of “I have to take care of this all by myself” without any hesitation.  This cell is heavily decorated with “I’m so busy with work and deadlines right now, how can I possibly make time for getting the mower fixed, and by the time I do, the grass will be so high and take an impossibly long time to cut, so maybe it is time to sell the house after all, because I surely can’t keep up all this maintenance by myself”… and so on.  It’s a humbling and embarrassing ride I take to this place as I watch Molly approach to inquire what is wrong.  I try to sound normal, philosophical even in my explanation of what the situation is, but all that comes out is the angst and disappointment I am feeling.  I know I have to go inside, literally, and wait this out now.  After a while I do remember that this lawn mower has been unpredictable in the past, and in fact will eventually honor its duty and work.  It’s as if it has a personality, one that is determined to keep teaching me the value of acceptance and discovery of the silver lining in the moment in front of me.  So I come back outside.   And promptly notice that my own time out hasn’t stopped Ben from finishing his work on the woodpile….!


Inspired, I resolve to pull weeds from the garden and begin clearing debris from the back yard.  But first I go over to pull the start cord on the mower one more time.  Smile.  Yup.  The engine roars into full gear and continues to roll over and hum vigorously.

So, off we go together.  I now take my time enjoying every turn around the yard, around the edges of the rapidly growing gardens, through the field like growth in the back that hasn’t seen the mower yet this year.  And then it’s done.  The lush green carpet of the grass accentuates the spontaneously formed edges of this year’s spring garden.


Lupine and iris are coming up in clumps in entirely surprising places and I have simply mowed around them.  The result is a garden that is as completely new this year as it was last.  Engagingly so.   I notice all the lone blossoms of blue flag iris hidden amongst the bee balm and purple-leafed loosestrife,


I take the time to walk around and revel in the abundance of growth that is so much more than years past; of peony buds ready to burst, of new clumps of blue flag everywhere so elegant and seductively hidden that I almost can’t see them, and then the profusion of apples forming on the tree that lost every single blossom in last year’s spring storm and didn’t offer one single apple in the fall….




Every place I look is full of promise.  I suppose the message is that even these exquisite findings in the garden are simply expectations of something to come, that even the anticipated blossoms and fruit could be gone in an instant too.  And like the mower that gives me pause, I can still trust that what will come to nourish body & soul will still come…

3 thoughts on “full of promise

  1. Ahhhh, the unmistakeable recognition that one is human after all inevitably comes when what we expect to happen does not. Damn those machines…intolerably unfeeling yet uncooperative and lazy. In my moments of mechanical frustration John always yells out, “consider operator error.” most helpfully…NOT. k


  2. My favorite line: “I go straight to the little prison cell of, “I have to take care of this all by myself! Heavily decorated with, “I don’t have time for this…!”

    I can just see you, affecting nonchalance with Molly, sigh…smile.

    Your yard is gorgeous, just like you.


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