On abundance and change and tidy endings

Bringing up gourds from the garden the other day, I thought about this current season that just won't take root. Our 'fall' so far has been in the upper 80's, with crunchy grass and garden chores still stacking up. I'm so done with the garden.

I'm done with tomatoes, whereas 4 months ago I couldn't wait for them to pop out of their green forests in my tidy little garden. We pulled up plants and brought the remaining green fruits in to ripen in the garage.

They've turned into fruit fly factories.

We're roasting them (the tomatoes, not the flies) with the garlic and onions and herbs, and it's good; but I'm done. I'm done hunting for strawberries, trimming back basil, and sawing off gargantuan zucchinis under protection of prickly leaves.

The garden is a stringy mess and I'm ready for a cozy fire and soup on the stove. I want it to rain for days. To see the grass green up again. To see smoke in the chimneys. I'm ready for a hard freeze to blacken the dahlias and ripen the rose hips.

This is me, longing for a season and then promptly growing tired of it.

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There's a grief over our community.

I'm not tired of it, if that makes sense. It's a good place for us to be right now. But all of a sudden I might be done with it and I might turn and pull up roots. The way I deal with too much goodness might be the way I deal with an over-flow of sadness.

The reader boards all over town say the same things - that businesses are praying, standing strong, supporting UCC and the families and the community. It's the beauty-out-of-ashes when our safety net has burned down and our false security of small-town life is scorched.

But every time I drive by a sign like that I wonder who will be the first to take the sign down? What business will be the first to replace the show of support with the weekly special or seasonal discount?

Are we traitors when we go back to business?

Do we move on, or just move forward?

Because it has to happen. The world is tilted and still rotating, time still linear, life still moving. We live through seasons, not in them, and those businesses (run by real people with a living to make) will have to return to their regularly scheduled program.

Maybe we could change things and reader boards could be just for...readers. Not for advertisements. Not for daily specials and all the misspelled pronouncements. Urgh.

Life feels like it comes in long, overdrawn batches, and what I think I need are short bursts of it. Then again, life comes in short bursts that need to be savored.

I want something and then I don't want it and I don't want things to change but then, I do.

Just change, already.

The clerk at the sporting goods store asks if I'd like to make a donation to the victim relief fund, and of course I would, and how much shade can I offer the grieving; how much reprieve from the scorch of too much sun, too many people, too little space? I want to put words in the relief bucket but it's made for dollars and what would words do, anyway?

Bailey and I are reading through some of C.S. Lewis' works this year, and she chose A Grief Observed to start with. Lewis wrote it after the death of his wife and at first it was published under a pseudonym.

Anonymous in grief.

I've never grieved like that but I think I can kind of understand. I think I can also understand when he comments that he cringed when people approached him on the street, fumbling for condolences; awkward. He was irritated if they tried and irritated if they didn't. He was irritated because people didn't know how to handle his grief.

I don't know if the book resolves anything. I've yet to finish it, but I've decided it's ok if nothing wraps up tidy at the end. He wrote many books and we will certainly live through times that don't give us words to conclude with or feelings worth repeating.

There is only one stable place when the seasons won't change, whether you get what you want and it lasts too long or you live in a tragedy of life too short. Only Christ holds room for all the things we don't have words for. Only Christ has perfect timing.

Incidentally, it has started to rain since I first began this post. It's good now.