11 November 2000
My friend Joyce says that when we die we'll be given all the answers to all of Life's mysteries, large and small. She may be right. But, often, I've found answers come if you look hard enough to see, if you keep quiet enough to hear...
Today I woke up angry with myself. I'm not sure why, even now. Paralyzed, the grayness outside my window seeping into me, I lay there, wasting the day, worrying and wondering about... things... the unfathomable... stuff, mostly— stuff over which I have no control... things which will require a "reasonable patience" of me...
And a few things I could control if—
Shoot me now. Please?
Of course, I did get up— after a certain point, there's nothing else you can do, and it's usually an improvement, but why is it one can never remember at the time that it's better to get up than to lay there like a lump? I know I never do. But, I did get up and I headed for the kitchen for some Holly Golightly decaf coffee. (Why do I bother?)
A while back, I repotted some rather scraggly-looking burro's tails. I set them on the windowsill over the sink with the African violets. Shortly afterwards, I noticed that some other sort of plant was growing in one of the pots. I thought it was a weed: they sometimes get into the potting soil. I thought about pulling it out, many times, but, for some reason, I never did. I let the plant grow. And as it got bigger, I became more and more convinced that it was indeed a common and pestiferous weed, one of the messy ones that I have trouble eradicating from my flower beds. Still, I let it grow...
Today I discovered that the mystery plant is a pink impatiens. Surprise!
There is one reason I'm angry with myself: Sarah's painting remains unfinished and I have been assiduously avoiding doing any work on it. I'm not happy with it. It isn't right. But I don't know what's wrong. Today I slapped some more paint on it, to no avail. It just won't come together...
I feel bad about the painting, but that's not all the reason for my anger on this gray, rainy day—
I went for a walk in the rain.
Most of the leaves are off the trees now— though many oaks are still holding onto their leaves. So too are some of the smaller trees and shrubs, the ones closer to the ground, the ones that have been sheltered from the worst of the cold. In fact, looking out my kitchen window at the bare trees and small patches of yellow in the neighbor's yard, I can imagine it's the narcissus in bloom and spring has come again.
Mowry Street has lots of oak trees and pines, and today the wet oak leaves lining the road and flattened against the pavement make an interesting border— look at the leaves:
How many different kinds of oak there are! And the colors, though subdued, are still amazing, especially in the rain. Deep browns, purples, reds, oranges, golds, and butterscotch tans. I wish I could show them to you here, but you'll have to go look for yourself.
In high summer, the leaves make a mystery of the woods and the world. Imagination can run amok. What does lie there, behind those leaves, in the shadows? Does someone live in there? Is it a farm, perhaps? Or is there a valley beyond those trees? Is that an old road? — Listen! What's that noise? Is is manmade? Is it an animal? Do you dare to go find out? Mysteries abound.
But, when the leaves have fallen, things that were hidden can be seen, and they turn out to be perfectly ordinary things. Walking on the roads, on familiar paths, you see and hear people and animals unmysteriously going about their lives in the open. And in the woods, terrain that was hidden comes into view. Paths are clear. It's a good time for learning the woods, for finding things out...
But how boring the world would be without any mysteries.
I enjoyed the walk. It did me good. So, too, did gathering all the kinds of oak leaves I could find. But I'm still angry with myself. For no one, particular reason. Perhaps it's just that kind of day...
For now, mysterium est, as Eileen of the Novenas would say. Maybe I'll find out once all the leaves have fallen— unless, of course, this one is hidden by evergreens! (Thank goodness for evergreens!)
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