We sit by our glowing screens, butt in the chair, trying not to hunch, striving to keep that core engaged. We drink our coffee and water and tea, forcing a walk break to the bathroom on a regular basis. And then our college kid comes home. “Mom, you’ve got to go outside!”
It used to be I told her that. She was the one focused on her screen, communicating, drawing, writing. Now she’s back, rediscovering the old joys of childhood gone by way too fast. My own words come back right at me, smack me in the face, dislodge my reading glasses.
“You’ve got to go outside,” she said. “It’s amazing. You’ve got to take your shoes off and walk through the tall grass.” The grass I didn’t get to mow yet. “And check out all those textures. Did you know there are so many shades of green? And so many wildflowers blooming out there?” The weeds, yeah. We call it biodiversity to keep the nosy neighbors at bay. “And the grass is moist, right between your toes, and insects are out! And the azalea is blooming, and the little blue storm flowers made a field right across the path up the hill.” The flowers I didn’t mow down because I know you like them. Order be damned. “And it’s sunny and windy and not too hot. It’s perfect! You’ve got to get outside, Mom!”
So I did. Barefoot, remembering to tiptoe around the resurgent patch of poison ivy (will that stuff ever die?), inhaling the sweet scent of lilacs and lily-of-the-valley carried to me from several yards away on the moist, soft wind. I swished my naked, vulnerable feet through the blooming, too-tall grass, where the cheerful violets blossoms in the shade were almost spent and the blue ajuga, the storm flower, invaded the lawn in wide swaths of cobalt blue. A storm flower, because in Czech they’re called “the storms.” If you pick one, it will rain tomorrow. And don’tcha go thinking it’s just the vagaries of spring weather. You want rain, you go pick storm flowers.
The Japanese maple needs pruning, and the plum trees have already set fruit. The roses and raspberries died back during the harsh winter, but fresh, red-green buds burgeon from the base of their plants, setting forth a brave new cane, trying again. Like I do.
Refreshed, I come back inside, check my bare feet for ticks, and sit down at my computer. Now I’m reset, unkinked, and eager to finish that pesky chapter.