Beyond Cuckoo

Between Drought and Deluge

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“It’s official, Carmel announced to the garden, “Jerry says the drought is over in California. So, look alive!”

Carmel’s garden didn’t ask, nor care, who this Jerry was, but if it did, Carmel was prepared to explain about how the current California Governor, Jerry Brown, knew these things. Instead she pulled the garden cart into the shade of her favorite pine and sat to meditate and continue the conversation.

It’s been a tough few years for both you and me, but once again, we’ve made it through,” she began with the obvious and added one more thought, “although, there were times I thought it would never get any better, yet it did, despite ourselves.”

She sat, drifting in and out of deep silence, interspersed with watery thoughts that sought the path of least resistance. She remembered reading that the human body is at least 60% water. She wondered if it was the same for her trees, flowers, herbs and grasses. She had cut their water in half the last three years, were they frightened as she had been? Trying to survive attack from without in a desert of human misdeeds and cruelties?

No matter. She had her strengths and innate courage, like her garden. Although she had to admit that when the rains came, they came fast and furious, challenging her hold on situational reality.  Not too long ago, she had braved the storms to re-tie the stakes that held their world together. Nothing had toppled or blown away. Instead, the deluge had delivered a welcomed soaking of life and spirit.

*   *   *   

A garden and gardener are lovers–carefully caretaking each other’s needs–fulfilling desires–that they only whisper about. Years of careful management builds a legacy that lasts for many generations. Secrets are hidden in seeds carefully stowed away until the timing is perfect to plant.

The garden and the gardener understand what sustains and what destroys. They work together to build resilience and continuity when challenged by life’s extremes. They forgive mistakes and live on, to trust once again, in the bond they’ve made.  

Carmel hand waters her relationships–time consuming–consequently she has few. When weeds begin to overwhelm the landscape, she pulls at them with a strength that comes to her by will. Yet, what is a flower to one, is a weed to another, and she tries to understand the difference.

Only once did she fail a garden, when after cultivating their relationship for several years, she left it in someone else’s care. When she returned the land had been covered in asphalt and automobiles sat where the raised beds had been. She had sold it out and they never recovered. She moved on with trepidation and worry.

*   *   *

Today, between the drought and deluge, summertime brings the sweetness of a ripe tomato, red and juicy as the act of love. Carmel knows of the dangers outside the fence that protects her, but has decided to be aware, do what she can, and move forward. She will defend the boundaries with her life and welcome in those that care. The invitees are different, unusual, yet seek a peace that they know is true. Their peace, not necessarily hers, but welcomed just the same. A peace to be planted, tended and harvested–until the next deluge.


About the Author:

Elaine Webster writes fiction, creative non-fiction, essays and poetry from her studio in Windsor, California—the heart of Sonoma County Wine County. “It’s easy to be creative surrounded by the beauty of Northern California. We have the best of everything—good wine, food, art, culture and sense of community.”
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