Saturday in Spring City

It is a ritual:  when I visit my parents in the country the first thing I do is ride around my parents’ property in my dad’s golf cart.  Dad is 82 and still actively gardening but his knees are bad (not nearly bad enough for surgery, mind you) so he travels around the yard and the gardens in his golf cart.  He has perfected weeding from the cart so he doesn’t even have to get off and back on.  This Saturday, there was a change in the wind.  The bitter sharp cold had softened with an echo of warmth and I enjoyed the 20 minute ride starting at the front of the house, admiring the freshly trimmed trees, past the side of the house which will get power-washed this summer (Konrad, my nephew, will do that  while he is home from college) down to the long wide strawberry patch in what used to be my brothers’ baseball field, and before that where my grandfather kept the ponies.

Dad showed me the strawberry plants and talked about the 200 plants he was getting in a few weeks and how maybe next year they won’t have the road side stand and just sell orders to people who know about the berries.   At the very bottom of the property, the neighbor came out and he and Dad started talking about gardening, and then about the gas power line that runs underground through their properties and how the trees may have to come down and Dad is hoping they take down the ugly pine trees my grandfather planted back in ‘52.  I half-listened, sitting beside my dad in the cart, shivering in the I-guess-it’s-not-quite-that-warm air, and took it in.  I felt my chest expand and my breath deepen, my heart open to earth and life and neighbor.  My father has lived on this property for 75 years, and this is where I grew up. My time as a child was not perfect, and like we all do, I have spent my life healing wounds and seeking wholeness.  Today, I felt the embrace of connection, in through the bottom of my feet, in and out from my heart, out the top of my head.  This grounding to the earth, this particular earth that first my grandfather planted on and walked and loved, that as a child I explored and played on and loved, and now again and again and again greeting this place beside my father who knows when the trees were planted and tells my husband not to trim off that hideous dead branch on the pine tree, left barren after the wind storm, because the crows like to hang out there and converse with each other.

I start another week, hoping to sleep through the nights, trying still to keep facing towards hope, determined to resist anxiety.  I have tucked into my pocket, my heart-pocket, the space of time sitting on the cart beside my Dad at the bottom of the field; this grounds me and expands me, opens me and gentles me.

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