It began on a hot summer afternoon, as I knelt down in the orchard of the property I was preparing to move to, looking at literally dozens of apricots that had fallen to the ground. All around me was the color green~ leaves, grass, bushes, trees~ all so alive and healthy and such a contrast from the browns and yellows of the dry land I was leaving.
This new landscape was so much easier on my eyeballs than the much harsher beauty of the foothills I had lived in for over a decade~ so much so, that almost overwhelmed me.
Little things, like knowing I would have enough water for the whole family to take showers AND to run a load of laundry ALL IN THE SAME MORNING. I could even run the dishwasher the same day and still be OK. Like knowing I could buy plants if I wanted to and actually put them in the ground because there was real soil that actually contained dirt and not just rocks that bend and break metal tools, and yeah, there was WATER to keep them alive.
And being only 5 minutes from a coffee shop or a store~ many, if not most Americans probably take these things for granted, but I had been without them for so long, that I actually felt weepy with joy about it all.
As I sat there looking around, pondering my blessings, and wondering when I had become such a sentimental and emotional person, it hit me.
Literally…. Like, “BONK!” I actually got conked in the head.
It was a peach that fell from the tree and hit me right on the noggin.
The actual hit to the head came with what I guess would be called a simultaneous epiphany. Just a single word came to mind.
That was my word for 2014~ That was how I most wanted to feel, and that was definitely what I had all around me.
Before I could relish too deeply in this thought, I noticed something mildly disturbing. A rodent~ some sort of mole, vole, mouse like creature. Something other than a rat, and it was lying in the hot sun in my yard, looking for all purposes, dead.
I began thinking of all the reasons (fears) of why there would be a dead rodent lying there in my perfectly lovely orchard. What if the lawn mowing guys had used some sort of poison that could be a potential danger to my dogs and cats? What if it had a hideous, painful and contagious disease? What if it was a trick and it was going to jump up and bite me in the face? Then, I noticed a twinkle in the rodent’s eye.
Not a mischievous or playful twinkle or even a menacing one. Nothing like that~ just an indicator that it might, in fact, have a bit of life left in it, but not much.
As a liker of animals of all kinds, even rodents, even if they do sometimes carry hideous diseases and plagues, I couldn’t just let the poor thing wither in the sun and die.
But, as much as I wanted to help, I certainly wasn’t going to touch the mystery rodent. So, I picked up a peach from the ground next to me and threw it toward the creature to see if it would move.
I didn’t think I would actually hit it, but I did, and it did a sort of writhing wiggle which made me jump and flail about in shock, doing my own sort of writhing wiggle thing.
Once I caught my breath, I noticed that the little creature appeared to have its’ two right legs stuck under a peach (not the peach I had thrown, but yet another one~ they were all over the place~ seriously, I’m not kidding with the abundance)
The poor thing was trapped. I still wasn’t going to touch it, so I got a stick, and poked the peach until it rolled off and the second it was free, that half dead looking rodent sprung up, dug a hole and disappeared faster than I could even blink, let alone speak (and that’s fast!)
I gave a verbal warning / request to the ground he disappeared into, asking him to move on to different pastures before I moved my cats and dogs in with their sharp teeth and love of shaking things, and lesser appreciation for the life of a rodent.
So, there I was, left there alone with the fruit falling in this wonderful new yard that surrounded the home I would soon occupy. It was a real, grown up house~ surely the nicest thing I had lived in since I moved out from under my parents’ roof. The street was paved, and flat and there was good internet. I was home.
As I contemplated how wonderful all of this abundance was, and how miraculous that my word for the year was once again coming to fruition (literally) I couldn’t help but think of the little rodent and wonder if there wasn’t some metaphorical symbolism in all that. (My mind just works that way. I can’t help it.)
That little creature was also surrounded by abundance, but it seems he’d been trapped by it, and nearly smothered under the weight of it. Theoretically, he could have tried to eat his way out, which I like to think I would have done in his place. Unlike the rock climber who had to saw his own arm off, or the Donner Party, it was a peach, so it would have been pleasant, albeit overwhelming since it was almost the same size as he was.
Anyhoo, I think there must be some lesson on paying attention and not getting stuck or being creative or maybe all of those things. In any case, abundance in the form of fruit trees, ability to do laundry and proximity to coffee isn’t going to solve all of life’s problems, but it sure is more than enough to be grateful for. And I am so very grateful.
Life is good, indeed. In fact, it’s down right abundant.