25 April 2011

Lilacs and Lightning Bolts

Maybe it was just a coincidence, maybe it was someone or some thing trying to get through to me, but today I felt...good.  Like I had energy and a purpose.  I woke up this morning with an eagerness to get started on the day.  Instead of dozing off again and again, it was up and out with vigor.

That it was Easter Sunday was not lost on me.  Rebirth, renewal, rejuvenation, rising and all that.

I am not what you would call a religious man.  Perhaps it may be more accurate to say that I am a man with spiritual leanings, who wonders if he is religious.  Even if I am still grappling with God in all the incarnations put forth by mankind, it is inescapable that I was brought up in a Christian tradition; thus, the symbols and rituals of it are always there in the background.  It is a frame of reference, if I may borrow a bit from physics.

Empty tombs and rising sons weren't really on my mind, though, as I wasn't headed for church.  I was headed for my backyard.  Jesus may have risen this weekend, but then again, so did the grass.  Between the weather, travel and my work schedule lately I have had precious little time to tend to the oasis that is my home.

It is true for me that unfinished business causes me noticeable anxiety.  A low-grade background hum, when I know I have things to do and I can't (or just don't) get to them expediently.  So it was with the yard work.  Brush to chop, leaves to rake, weeds to pull, branches to trim and grass galore waiting to be cut.  I just wanted it done.

So it came to pass that on a glorious Easter morning I was outside pulling and cutting, chopping and bagging, all the while sweating like a waterfall, huffing and puffing like a beached fish.  But, honestly?  It felt good.  It felt real good, even when I was about to faint towards the end of the grass cutting. (Nothing a little exercise won't cure, I'm sure.)

It felt good because I was focused and relaxed.  I had simple problems with measurable results.  The serious case of The Funk that I had been unable to shake for weeks was finally, truly gone.  I read somewhere once, that it is nearly impossible to be depressed when engaged in meaningful work.  I say that is true, if the bubble of bliss I experienced today was any indication.  Sunshine, fresh air and a purpose: it doesn't get any better.

I experienced some moments of grace today, courtesy of the natural world.  In my backyard there is a pair of lilac bushes, separated by another bush in between, the species of which I am unsure.  These lilac bushes blossom early, and when they do they start emitting the most wonderful aroma, the kind of aroma that makes me go outside just to breathe in when I have a spare moment.  Today while cutting the grass I walked right into a lilac branch, sporting a blossom which caressed its way across my cheek.  My lungs filled up with lilac fragrance, and I couldn't help but smile.

Later in the afternoon, some fast moving thunderstorms rolled in to the area.  The sky took on that amazing shade of pewter while bright silver bolts of lightning bracketed the area around where I lived.  I had the windows open, and I had to shut a few when fat drops of rain started splashing through the screens.  The wind was high, but not destructive, and the aroma of the rain was heavenly.  I was tending to a pot of beans on the stove, watching the branches sway and lightning crease the sky, and thinking this was a fine day indeed.  A fine day to come back to life, no matter what we think of ourselves.


  1. A fine day indeed. Christianity has never been able to shake the pagan celebration of Spring; backyard chores on so fine a day are the body's way of giving thanks. And whatever work goes into it, come back somehow, in something I'll cal grace. Nice write. - Brendan

  2. I know that lack of doing productive work takse a lot out of me as well. During those times when we were getting ready for the holidays I had to clean and dust extra hard which seemed to make the day go by that much faster.

    Makes me want a yard of my own now...

  3. You mean yard work is the cure? :-) Glad you had a great day. And a thunderstorm is icing on the cake. My favorite.

  4. Ooh! I wish I could see lightning. We so rarely get it here.

  5. Lilac bushes--I miss them down here. They don't do well in the deep South. But in Virginia, there were many on the property of the home place.

  6. I would like to know how you wrote that 5th paragraph about me when you didn't even know me. :)

    P.S. LOVE lilacs.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...