Our Labors and Their Fruits

photo by Phyllis Capanna
photo by Phyllis Capanna

This early Spring, I planted all my saved seeds from seasons past, realizing they don’t gain in potency the longer I hang onto them. So, with the wrong pots, the wrong placements, the wrong everything, I flung seed into dirt. I even threw some out for the wildlife, up by the leach field. I made contributions to my wildflower backyard overgrowth. (This was before I transplanted milkweed from Massachusetts in a fit of monarch butterfly love.) It was just a couple of days of realizing I’d accumulated quite a lot of “maybe this and someday that,” and it was time to let go and take what came of it, including, most likely, nothing.

Instead of kale or beans, in the pots lining the edge of my garden here at camp, tomato plants sprang up. They must have been in the compost. The volunteer tomato I am sitting next to today has set fruits that won’t ripen before the end of summer. I contemplate its perfect, toothed leaves, green with purpose. I note the bees visiting from blossom to blossom. the fine fairs along its stem, its symmetry and stature–It is a perfect specimen. It doesn’t stop setting fruit and being green just because it got a late start.

Everything today seems strewn with web filaments, visible if caught at a certain angle to the sun. I wonder if the spiders have anywhere they don’t weave. They weave inside our lampshades, across our doorway, above our bed, and, too, it looks, across the lines that reach from the pine by our door to the pole across the road. When they have woven us together completely, will we know?

How many total annihilations of their habitat do they suffer, and still they spin?

photo by Mary K Baird
photo by Mary K Baird

Hummingbirds chitter to each other along the fly route from the feeder to the nearby trees and over to the roof. I saw one once hovering and hunting for food in our rain gutter over the back door. I wonder if they eat spiders. I wonder what other edibles are living in our rain gutter. Maybe they prefer the gutter fare to the sugar water we put our for them and are too polite to mention it. Maybe they think we’ll catch on if we see them hovering often enough. I’ll bet they say among themselves something of the inverse of what we say about them: “For creatures with such big brains, it’s astounding how slowly they learn!”

I’ve gone for an afternoon swim. It was supposed to be rainy today, but instead it’s sunny, breezy and warm, a perfect late August day. I sit on a chaise longue in the back yard taking in the volunteer tomato, the gentle spearmint with it furry leaves and purple spikes of flowers, the glistening web tatters above, the lake across the road, the hummers, and I feel a tear trickle down my cheek. Even though it’s late summer, everything is still thrumming along in cruising gear, still joyfully green and blossoming. I look for a telltale sign of sadness or defeat among the life forms and find it only on my own cheek.

I relate to the volunteer tomato, to the bees still hunting for food, to the hummers hard at work, to the spiders perpetually weaving. I guess it doesn’t matter that I’ve gone from precocious to late bloomer in one lifetime, that I’ve achieved my purpose in becoming a person who writes and is read, that I’m not sure where and when or if ever anything will bear fruit beyond the fruit of the moment in which I am in the act of creating and free to do so, at liberty to say. Yes, that does matter, doesn’t it, finally? I am so blessed to have this time to contemplate, commune, learn, and feel.

I am also given the gift of having listened, long ago to a force, a force that urged me to entrust myself to the process of writing it down, until through repetition this process has taken on the power of a sacrament, a blessing that can cleanse me and that protects me from other forces that seek to have me go to sleep and never know what lies within. So that now, this within, this place I access, is a field of energy, a portal to everything beyond. Inner space and outer space are one in the same. To those who would deride us navel gazers, I say, “Get moving! I see right through you.” (But I don’t do it for that, do I, even though as a kid, Number 3 on my list of future professions was “spy?”)

It’s just that, we are more alike than different. It’s just that, we each have this access to something deeper, greater, flowing, alive, wise and real. It’s that this is our birthright, to know, to feel, to express, to make beauty, to enjoy to the point of tears. It’s that we have hearts and souls and that this is who we are.

And when we are in right balance with ourselves, we fling seed and welcome sprouts, welcoming all results, no matter that they are short-lived, inferior, surprising, inconvenient, embarrassing. We who are all about the process know that more often than not we also get to eat something delicious that nourishes us further and yields seeds for the future.

photo by Gabor from Hungary
photo by Gabor from Hungary

In other News

I am busily at work on several great projects that I’ll be sharing with you in the coming months. I am putting together writing workshops for those who can attend in person, one about getting started and one about finishing. The revision of the Soul Messages book is almost complete! I will be offering my readers a chance to have a free copy of either the Soul Message cards or the revised book in exchange for completing a survey, coming very soon this Fall. I am also developing a Soul Messages workbook, which I hope will be available by the time my first Soul Messages Workshop is happening this October. Lots and lots of busy weaving, foraging, and setting of fruits! Stay tuned, and stay in touch.

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With love,

PhyllisSig

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