Sunday, August 1, 2010

You never know

This morning someone said that to me - maybe the minister.  It is a sort of wry joke, but at least as true as Murphy's Law, and equally based on the central Buddhist truth of uncertainty and our inability to control the vast stream of the future, or even to have a grip on the present.  When a lovely older member of our church died recently, people who had seen her the week before were confused - she had seemed so well, seemed to be doing better.  Does death really come like that, when we're not ready?

Oh, it's me again on death.  Hmm, what is this?  Well, some news this morning from my donor - the transplant people do not like the results of one of the tests they ran on her kidney function, and want her to do it again.  It's an annoying test, a 24-hour urine collection - just what it sounds like.  I'm used to it, but I remember it driving me crazy in early times, having to lug a gallon jug half full of pee and an item called "a hat" (to collect more pee) to work.  I would have said then that "It drives me crazy," meaning my resentment built into agitation and Don't Want!  I was more like that then, not saying No, not accepting either, feeling victimized.  That was me.

Well, I have always known obstacles could arise at many points in this pending transplant, and never talked about it without saying, Anything can happen - another Grandma saying about uncertainty.  I said it like crossing my fingers or throwing salt over my shoulder, a bow to the crapshooting gods of Terry Pratchett's fiction.

The universe is not fully explained, but it is also not a crapshoot.  After 2500 years, the truth of cause and effect is even more apparent, though we now see that both can be subtle and unexpected.  But still, notwithstanding quantum physics, whatever happens was bound to follow after all that happened before.  Yet, somewhere in this inevitability is what we can affect.

Small example:  just now I let Sheba out on the screened porch, and paused to check my orchids in the little study where the light is good for plants.  Two were dry, so I began to add some water to the bowl beneath the small one, which keeps it humidified.  It is crowded on that desk, and I still have a tremor, so (cause-and-effect) I spilled water.  Sighed.  Went to get paper towels and picked up the woven reed mat the orchids sit on to make sure no water had seeped through.  Indeed, it had, and would have ruined the beautiful finish of the like-new desk in that spot.  I wiped it dry, glad I slowed down and checked. 

But don't your days in August seem to go like that?  Maybe not.  Maybe there are cool, grounded people with little fire in the nature who are energized by the extra heat and light and the excited feel of the state fair, the rib fest, the end of summer. But a lot of people don't feel that way, which is why it's the month in which many places more or less shut down - all of France, New York City - and the privileged go to a cabin on the lake where it is cooler.

So yes, I am reminding myself once more to stay where it is dim and cool.  Planning to relax now as soon as I bring my shamrock in from the porch, where it just can't stand the heat.  Plants make these demands on you, living things, organic life that holds you hostage.
[image:  Two years ago my friend Tina planted a great many impatiens for me along the front garden.  Impatiens are an annual, meaning the winter killed them off.  But the next year this little plant came up.]

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