Monday, May 11, 2009

suspended animation

A couple of weekends ago, you took a trip to the nursery to purchase some annuals. On the face of it, buying the flowers was a necessity: the yard was starting to look long in the tooth, abandoned, as if its owners had already begun checking out, moving on. A sprinkle of color underneath the olive tree would suffice — some reds and whites and a dash of impatiens whose petals resembled an Orange Creamsicle seemed to make all the difference in the world. And while it was true that the neglected-looking yard did need sprucing up, the need to plant flowers went beyond aesthetic.

In truth, you needed to get your hands dirty. To immerse limbs, elbows-deep, into the soil. To feel the gritty earth under your fingernails and the breeze on your back as you knelt in the olive's shade and recommitted yourself to this place you call home.

Since August, you have been trying to restructure the mortgage with your bank so that you can keep the house, keep raising your children here, keep one foot in the community you crossed the country to be a part of. 2008 was a tough year for your family in every way, a year defined by loss and limbo — loss due to the death of your mother-in-law, the slow demise of a business, and with it, the majority of your savings that has resulted in a limbo-like state of existence, a place where you register sound through cotton-ball ears and observe things with blurred intensity.

The soil was rocky and root laden, and much less yielding than you had imagined it would be. You were surprised by this, taken back by the effort it took to dig a hole a few inches down and around, the way your hand cramped as it grasped the trowel. But what were you expecting? Sandy soil that submitted to the trowel's blade without protest so that you could cleave and dice to suit your intentions? Well, yes. But the displacement of the earth was only temporary, and for a greater gain. Once the flowers were firmly in the ground, all would be returned to as it had been, only now, where once there was only the dirt itself, there would be life. Color. Cheer.

And maybe that's what these past nine months have been about as well. A digging up, displacement, and turning over of the rocky bits, a slicing through of shallow roots, a clearing away of sorts so that something vibrant might take its place, however temporarily (the flowers are, remember, annuals, which means that in time, they will have to be dug out and replaced, too).

Who knows? From this vantage point, all you can do is observe, and wait, and appreciate. And while you'd prefer knowing, would welcome a clear path (stay? go? where? and when?), what you do know for certain is that objects in a state of suspended animation are supported. Something sustains them, keeps them functioning, alive, until it's time to reanimate.

You're waiting to be reanimated. To take root and thrive. To bounce with color and cheer. You know it's coming. This season will turn, and you will go on.
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