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Rain for Recovery
The blessing of a cozy, gloomy, day
The rain pours down with consistency, and I am grateful for the day’s wet forecast. A day’s break from dragging the water hose from the flower gardens to the herb garden, and then on out to the vegetable garden. Seeds require a combination of warmth and wet to sprout, and cool evenings, and then a run of dry days have kept many of my seeds from showing themselves.
I know now, by the end of the week, today’s perfectly pouring condition will finally bring a celebration of sprouts. Finally, finally, finally — here in this second week of June. The hose doesn’t reach the melon patch, and while searching for non-existent sprouts in that section, I was still able to celebrate the sight of a tiny jumping praying mantis, smaller than the fingernail on my pinkie, and I give him instructions.
“Grow big and eat stink bugs,” I tell him or her, and then I leave the garden, fearful I may tread on other tiny garden tenders I have recruited by gathering ootheca in the fall and spring, relocating the egg sacs to my garden spaces.
I relocate toads I encounter as well, building little shelters for them in the gardens, hoping they’ll be happy there and spend their summer eating pest insects. I also relocate any black snakes I spy, moving them away from the eggs in the hen house, away from my croaky amphibian friends.
Yes, I am grateful for the rain today, the “ting, tang, tong,” of my rain bells, and the knowledge that the day will include a well-earned nap. I just yesterday returned from the 45th annual West Virginia Writer’s Conference, four days of high-energy exchange of physical, mental, and spiritual energy.
Most people function at such levels on a daily basis. I spend my days talking to dogs and chickens, bugs and frogs. They don’t care if I’m publicly presentable, if what I say makes sense, if my words are elegant or impactful, if I fart or sprout chin hairs or spill my coffee. They, in turn, don’t fill my head with new ideas or concerns about issues, teach me writing skills, or share their traumas and/or success stories.
The literary, musical, and artistic talent within West Virginia never fails to amaze me. My skills and talents, (which are not few) still pale in comparison. For the most part, I’m just happy to be there, brushing against mostly humble greatness. I’ve been brought to tears by performances, gut-punched by poems, and soul-stirred by similar stories and sentence structure. More than once I noted, “Oh my gosh, that was amazing!” And more than once, in return, I received a blushing response. “Really? Thank you.”
I received third place in the People’s Choice Poetry on Friday, was nominated to be 2nd Vice President for next year, sold three books, and someone placed a significant bid to win one of my paintings in the silent auction. Among such rich talents from across the state and region, I feel honored that they might even appreciate my presence. I gave away more books than I sold, hoping they will someday be pulled from giant to-be-read piles and enjoyed.
Though I thrill in the experience, I am completely wrung out by the time I return home. Totally exhausted. Like, I have to take a nap before I even unpack the car. Greet the furry children, greet the husband, and hit the bed. I then experience a socialization hangover, though I did not drink much more than water.
At this moment, I doubt my ability to do these two events back-to-back every year, the way they appear on my vision board. Right now, I wonder if I’ll make it through the upcoming collection of long social days without slipping into that “I’m so tired I’m cranky” condition of childhood most adults are expected to overcome. Let’s hope so.
Today’s rain signals a day for introspection and rest, recovery, and reboot because in two days I’m off for Folk Fest, another four-day event. Between now and then, I have to pick peas, but not today. Not in the rain. Today is a day to unpack the recent conference, unpack new books for the to-be-read pile, receipts, notes on napkins, hand-outs, and snacks, and all the tools and techniques required to make me socially presentable.
Today’s to-do list has two outdoor activities on it: “clean car” and “pick peas.” But when the end of the day comes without these two tasks being completed, I’m going to blame it on the rain.