It’s been an unseasonably stormy week and I’ve loved every moment. Mist-shrouded mornings with fog so thick the window screens are dripping as if they’ve just weathered a drenching, black clouds muscling together overhead and pelting us with rain, rumblings of thunder so deep they shake the earth.
The back veranda has become my favorite place and I come out here as soon as I get off work at 8 a.m. each morning. It’s a spot full of comforts that cheer and restore, and no matter what is happening in my life, I always relax when I sink down into my chair, pull my red blanket over my knees, and settle back with my coffee or a hot cup of chocolate mint tea.
No matter how quietly I slip outside, the geese always catch me and set up a royal honking that could wake the dead. This rouses the goats who are snoozing happily in the sunshine and a few scramble to their feet, hoping that perhaps this is the day that I’ll come down early and toss them some hay. Kebab, our lamb, is next. He’s always out before everyone, grazing his cute little self among the trees, and when he hears the ruckus from the geese he bleats and gallops up to the veranda, hoping that perhaps this is the day I’ll let him up here with me.
But as I sit here contentedly, calling out greetings but not budging, the animals simmer down. The geese go back to pecking around the compost piles looking for grubs, the goats sink down onto their bellies to snooze a bit longer before Bear lets them out into the paddock, and Kebab trundles off again to nibble on the new grass that has sprung up since the rains returned.
Yesterday (or was it the day before?) my strength started returning after this latest long illness. It’s amazing to wake up feeling awake instead of half-drugged, able to move without too much pain, able to think clearly again after fighting through a fog of fatigue and general awfulness.
So I went out into my gardens. How I’ve missed them. And how thankful I am to the rain for coming the last two weeks so they could grow without me. They desperately need a good weeding, everything needs to be fed, and I don’t have a single thing planted for my Winter garden, but it’s OK. It really is OK. We only have to do what we can, and not one thing more.
And if all we can do is lay in bed with pain pills and season one of Gilmore Girls to distract us, that’s OK.
If all we can do is our job or keep children alive or stare blankly at a computer screen because our inspiration is kaput before we reheat takeout leftovers for dinner (again!) and collapse, that’s OK.
Whatever our “can” is, that’s enough.
My “can” this week was not much. I did my job – breathing thanks that I have work that I love, that pays our bills, that is with people who make me smile every day, and (thank you! thank you!) let’s me work while propped up in an armchair or, if necessary, my bed. Yep, I did my job, and that’s about it. We ate easy crockpot meals and rotisserie chickens and salads from the deli and I watched more movies in one week than I have all year.
And you know what? All that rest, all those lovely stories, all that good, simple food, it really helped.
And yesterday (or was it the day before?) I finally got to go out to my gardens and tear out old tomato plants and dried up bean stalks, I got to pick chilies and capsicums, elder berries and silverbeet. Just little jobs, but they sure felt good.
Then the rain started and I dashed up onto my beloved veranda and gathered my comforts around me and let it pour.
I wrote in my journal and drank hot chocolate.
I read a few more pages in the gorgeous Spring issue of Victoria magazine and got inspired to write more pen-and-ink letters and eat more edible flowers and take more walks in pretty places.
I looked through my stack of recent second hand book purchases and as enticing as they were, I decided to just pull my blanket up closer and watch the rain instead.
I watched as it turned the dusty, pale gum tree trunks into vivid reds and greens and perked up the dried up clumps of lichen on the edge of the veranda. I closed my eyes and listened to it clatter on the tin roof and smiled as the wind blew it right in my face.
I watched it plonk into puddles and trickle into rivulets that meandered through the grass and down the steps.
Bear joined me after a while, bringing hot cups of tea and coffee with him, and we watched the storm and smiled and thought that life really is pretty good when you just do what you can and let go of the rest.