When will I learn?
I am one of those people who truly hate Mother Nature in January, when the ground is buried in drifts of snow and the air is bitter. I fear the night when the cold seems to chase me from the car into the house, and when the very idea of sitting outside seems like madness.
Which means, of course, that I am one of those people who totally embraces and cherishes Mother Nature in the warm days of the year. I am someone who becomes absolutely giddy when that first breath of warm spring air wafts across the deck.
I like to think of myself as a young-at-heart, joyful sort, you know? I like to think that I am a woman who is still open to the delightful experiences of the young!
So tonight, after Paul and I had finished our lovely dinner of spare ribs and fresh carrots, I offered to take out the trash, rather than staying inside to wash the dishes. You see, we’ve been in the middle of a pretty significant drought here in Central Massachusetts, and today had been a truly rainy day. When I offered to empty the kitchen trash and roll the big barrel way out to the curb, I was aware that a steady warm rain was pouring down outside. I could hear the distant thunder, and smell the warm earth through the windows.
So out I went, my wonderful husband having agreed to load the dishwasher and put away the leftovers.
The sun had set by the time I stepped out of the garage and onto the driveway. I was barefoot, as I so often am in the warmer weather. I pulled the big trash barrel behind me along the 200 feet or so of our drive. I felt the patter of the warm rain on my shoulders as I passed under the pines that line our property.
I left the full barrel on the curb, and turned to head back to the house. I took three steps, maybe four, and found myself standing on the edge of a good, deep puddle. I heard a little giggle as it escaped my throat. I waded happily through the warm, dark water, so proud of my aging self as I rejoiced in the sensuous pleasure of the water on my feet. I made my way along the drive, breathing deeply of the warm, wet summer air. I made out the honeyed scent of my tall phlox, the pungent spice of the marigolds, the wet sweetness of the clover. I put out my arms and raised my face to the sky. I laughed out loud as the rain poured over my face.
Thrilled with the overload of sensation, so proud of my ability to still embrace the world around me, I took a bold step into the garage, where my soaking feet met the smooth cement of the floor.
And right onto my ass I tumbled. My left butt cheek crashed into the floor, sending a jolt of pain up my aging spine. My arms flew back to protect me, and my left elbow hit the floor with a crunch. I hit so hard that I bit my tongue and a muffled “gerg” flew out of my mouth.
I sat for a moment, stunned. I was afraid to move. All of a sudden, I felt less like a summer goddess and more like an old crone. Slowly, carefully, I wiggled my fingers and toes, bent both of my knees, creaked back up onto my feet.
And now I sit on the sofa, an ice pack on my elbow, a glass of wine at hand. I can still smell the warm summer rain, and hear the gentle song as it runs down the roof.
Next week, I’m letting Paul take out the trash while I carefully place the plates into the dishwasher.
Lesson learned, Mother Nature, lesson learned.