Tuesday, September 30, 2014

watching Bern in the yard

I watched her on and off for two hours, from cloudy daylight to almost dark.

I have no idea what she was doing--well, actually, I do, she was recreating a flower bed in our back yard. What I didn't have any idea about was why or how or what it all meant.

Bern works with bricks and rocks and shells (some of which she brings back from North Carolina every year) and she makes divides between what is 'yard' and what is flower bed. We used to be able to play croquet in our back yard, but no more, Bern's creations of boundaries have made it impossible. Bricks and Rocks and shells, divide our yard into areas where it is obvious you can't walk.

Today, for two hours, as light failed, I watched her, on and off, create a new space that will have a particular purpose for being. I have no idea what that purpose will be--being oblivious to her 'grand plan' for our yard--but knowing it was with purpose.

She is a thin, wiry, supple woman in her mid-60's. She can squat for so long that my knees and ankles and hips begin to ache just watching her.

She never knew I was watching her because she was in a world all her own, doing what she was doing--whatever it was.

She dug in the dirt with a tool and then with her hands. She moved rocks and bricks around and then re-arranged them. She tamped down dirt with her hands and feet. Moving slowly, but with purpose, always intent on what she was doing.

I envy her connection to things--earth, rocks, shells, bricks--and her commitment to have them be 'just right' and where they were meant to be.

I am so disconnected to 'things' compared to her.

She had on thin, khaki pants, a dark shirt and a pink hoodie as she squatted and worked and moved around. I knew she had no knowledge of my watching her.

Her back may hurt tomorrow...that happens from time to time...but what she was doing was finished when I told her dinner would be ready in half-an-hour and she had a cigarette and then a shower.

As I carried our food up to the TV room, she said, "perfect timing" and we ate.

I am astonished by her. And though we've know each other since I was 17 and she was 14--a full fifty years, a half a century now, when she's like that...working in the yard...she is a holy mystery to me.

I simply don't understand. And I love that about who we are--that I have no understanding at all about who she is when she'd like that.

Mystery is engaging, wondrous, amazing. Especially after all these years.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.