I could list the things that have beaten me down during the past fourteen months, but I think today I will not. Instead I will simply be glad that I'm here once again, writing in this blog.
The title of this blog was written ironically. It emerged from a previous blog in which I finally learned to write honestly about my past, and given some of my experiences, it seemed odd that someone like me could believe my life--my world--is beautiful. In fact, some commentors mentioned the fact that most who experience a past like mine do not emerge as I have, seemingly unscathed. I have no way to refute that, nor do I know why I have done so. Although, regardless of what "seems" to be true, I am not unscathed. Daily I live with the aftermath of my past. It makes little difference whether that aftermath is detectable by others.
But I have always tried to find joy no matter what sorrow has entered my life. I believe the two can exist simultaneously. And I have tried to lift the people I love even when rising above my own difficulties seemed impossible--because it costs me nothing to share a smile or a word of love or encouragement. I don't know that I've been as successful in the past few months. My life has been chaotic and filled with stress and sadness--but I have tried.
There has been so much chaos that some of the things I do every year to strengthen myself and keep me grounded have gone by the wayside. This year my front garden did not get planted. I know I'm not a gardener, but I buy plants and put them in the ground and if they live, that's my garden. The plants are usually tomatoes and herbs surrounded by various flowers and three varieties of mint. There is no plan--I am not a landscape artist. I just buy the plants I think are pretty and put the tallest ones in the back. I end up with a jumble of color, lovely tomatoes, and herbs that last until late October.
This year I could not do it. My strength was gone. My beautiful friend, Brozy, sent me home with about a thousand baby plants. Three of them made it to the garden plot and I waited until it was too late for them to bear tomatoes. They had become spindly and unhealthy. I felt guilt every time I looked at the plants Brozy gave me. Probably the three I planted were simply to assuage that guilt.
I thought about buying some colorful flowers, but the thought of digging holes for them made me nauseated. I I did nothing. I hated the barren plot. I began watering it to keep the three tomato plants alive.
I have mint along the back wall of my plot. I don't know why it remains there, as mint has a tendency to spread, but it seems to like the warmth of the wall behind it and it stays put. In July, tiny sprigs of a different variety of mint appear. This mint has is slender, rarely grows taller than three inches, and has small, dark yellow blossoms. It fills in between all the flowers, herbs, and tomatoes and looks lovely.
I waited for that second mint to come. I thought, at least I'd have some flowers from that source from July through September. In mid-July, I saw the first of it begin.
By the first week of August I was puzzled. The mint was becoming much taller than usual and its normal skeletal leaves were lush and plentiful. I decided maybe that's how it looks when not impeded by other plants, and allowed it to flourish. A few days later I saw buds. These were not the tiny yellow flowers to which I was accustomed. I pinched the leaves of the plant just to make sure I could smell mint--and I couldn't.
I watched for a few days, then one of the buds bloomed into a large purple flower. It looks like a daisy. I have no idea what it is, nor where it came from, but the plants are rapidly filling my flower bed and next week the garden plot will be filled with the lovely blooms.
I blame The Big Guy. I suppose to many people it would just mean that some stray seeds volunteered in a barren flower garden. Maybe the flowers are weeds most people would pull out and throw away. But for me, they're a tiny miracle, a spot of color, perhaps even a tender mercy because The Big Guy knows how much I love flowers--so he gave me some.
It's a silly explanation, I know. I also know that today--and perhaps tomorrow--and maybe the next day--I need to believe in it. And my belief does not decrease the loveliness nor nullify the existence of this year's flower garden. The flowers were not my choice, but they're beautiful--which sort of describes my life right now.