Maybe it’s because I went ice-skating every Saturday in February that balance has been so prevalent on my mind. One is so keenly aware of the body when skating, a sweep to the right, a sweep to the left, then that centered, forward glide. In this fast-paced society it is so easy to be knocked off balance, to forget how to breathe, how to truly exist in a balanced, natural state. The buzz of activity in the garden by day quiets and closes come evening. But we are still restless at night, worried about the days ahead. If we could only learn how to glide more. A sweep to the left, a sweep to the right, then let the universe take us where it will.
One of the most amazing things I find in the garden are the imposters–the weeds that do their best to look like the real flower in the row or bed. Sometimes they do such a good job I let them be. They may be fakes, but there is something admirable in their struggle for existence–and who are we to say what is a weed anyway? I once had a lady come pick her own flowers on our farm and she took home a bucket of weeds and was pleased as punch. Seems to me we are all weeds aspiring to some ideal vision of ourselves. And, as in the case of Hedda Gabler, when that vision is at great odds with reality, it is great tragedy. Or as Thoreau said back in the 1800s, before all the secret talk of the laws of attraction, “Sometimes, no doubt, we find it difficult to choose our direction, because it does not yet exist distinctly in our idea.” At least these weeds in the garden know what they’re aiming for and keep trying to perfect themselves year after year. Worthy of praise.
The world blanketed in snow is a clean slate on which to create: cardinals and bluejays came first today, then small, yellow finches. And then the flock of noisy blackbirds that clean out the feeders, but are still part of the design–black on white. Ying Yang. The balance soon regained. Walkways shoveled. Roads cleared. Power restored. But where would we be without the storms? Those storms that upend us and make us stop. Watch. Listen. A good story does this. It threatens. It rattles our doors and windows, forcing us out of ourselves and into communion with others, leaving us, together, to assess the damage. What a storm, we might say, what a story. . .