As October winds down to its last day, the weather has kicked into a frenzy that is leaving everyone a bit upended.
Sandy has already begun wreaking havoc on the East Coast. So much for humanity being in charge of the world. Every now and then, we are faced with the reality of What Lies Beyond, and our only response is to batten down all the hatches. And also shut down Wall Street.
In my own little corner of the world, the past six months have wavered between drought and drenching rains, seasonal dog-days and early chills, and now seasonal frosts and surprising heat. Last week it was 70 degrees. And also 34.
The hydrangeas in my front yard are playing by the seasonal rules (those rules of nature that we humans know are beyond us but that we still like to nod at and murmur over, as though we somehow devised them ourselves). They are dried out, appropriately bronzed, and extra crunchy to the touch. They’ve settled into a dignified state of horticultural rigor mortis, no longer in peril of bending and bowing, blown this way and that, tossed and twisted by the air that blows around them. Instead, like the aged who droop with elegance and grace, they are at risk of being snapped off in a flash, torn from the stalk that roots them to the ground.
All is as it should be there in my front yard. I have successfully ushered my hydrangeas through another season of life. Just look at them. Really, I am quite something.
My back yard is another story. Amidst all the naked trees, withered leaves, and shriveled perennials (who are compliantly following all of the seasonal rules), there is this:
Green among the brown. Growth among the decay. Life among the death.
If the context were anything other than the late-October nature cycle, this scene would be cause for rejoicing, would it not? For these little daffodils of mine are a delightfully poignant metaphor of the spiritual life. Rejoice! Give thanks! All is new! Amen.
I love spiritual metaphors as much as the next person. Sometimes more.
But these are my daffodils, thank you, not my soul. I look to them for miracles and messages – in season. I want them to do their regular old daffodil-thing so that I can, in small measure, fancy myself to be a green-thumber who works wonders in her little plot of dirt. I need this from my daffodils because, truth be known, my thumb is as ungreen as it could possibly be. Embarrassingly so, being of good farm stock. On both sides.
These rogue daffodils are doing it all wrong. They are making a mess of things. They are threatening my springtime feelings of humble smugness and self-congratulations. Springtime! Blooms! Look what I grew! Amen.
Beyond my control and comprehension.