Friday, April 29, 2011

Open and Shut Case

IS IT BETTER to have a door stuck open or a door stuck closed? I have both at the moment, and neither is quite convenient, but they make life exciting. In Birdland the rains come and the winds blow. Ancient latches succumb to the oxidation of time. A silver stream winds through the back field til it gets to the new grass waterway where it slips underground, and the wind rips big panels of corrugated metal from the roof of the barn. The grass grows thick and bright and green, and the breeze carries the scent of the new lilacs across the yard.
Various trees and bushes in the rose family have already begun to shed their petals, which carpet the lawn.

I hope the storms left a little pollen for the bees to make their honey and to begin the fruits of peach, pear, and apple. The winged seeds of maple make humble bouquets at the tips of twigs overhead.

I don't know what I do to deserve the luck I have. Last week on the way to work I discovered my car had a flat tire. I thought it was no big deal, since I was riding with my friend, Gayle. I called her and asked her to pick me up instead of waiting for me at her house, and pulled my car over to the side of the road.

I'd deal with it after work. I thought since Ellis was about to begin driving, his first lesson could be how to fix a flat. But my youngest is pretty busy, and after work I soon remembered it would be dark before he would get home from track. Besides, I would need to pick him up, so I thought I'd just go fix that flat myself. No problem, really. I always fancied myself an independent women. Now was my chance to prove it. I pulled the jack and the spare out of the trunk, but would you believe I couldn’t budge even one of those lug-nuts?

I tried and tried, even jumped on the tire iron with all my substantial weight, but they were stubborn. Well, I had towing insurance, so I'd just go home and call for help. I began walking back toward my house when suddenly an SUV comes barreling down the road, someone leaning out the passenger side window. It was my farmer neighbors, Jim and Sean. As they got closer, they slowed down and Sean called out a question. “Are you having car trouble, Mary?”
I admitted to my difficulties, and they pulled up behind my car and got out. By the time I unloaded the jack and the temporary tire from the trunk, Sean had already loosened the lug nuts. They quickly changed the flat and we saw the problem: I had somehow run over a screw. “Oh, we can fix that,” said my farmer friends.

Before I could thank them, they had packed up my tire in their car, and I drove myself home on my spare. Shortly after, they showed up with my tire reinflated, apologizing for not being absolutely certain that the plug they put in wouldn't leak. “What I'll do,” said Sean, “is come back tomorrow morning and make sure it's okay. Will you need to go anywhere before 7:00?”

We talked a little about the weather. I admired the new grass waterway they put in, and Sean told me he was thinking about cutting a tree out of the waterway in the back field. Would I mind if he cut it up and brought it down to my house for firewood? Would I mind?? My question is this: whatever did I do to deserve such friendly and caring nieghbors? And how can I make sure I keep doing it? For that matter, what did I do to deserve the delicate scent of lilac after a rain, and the calm blue sky? The tiny, red stalks like miniature trees that will become Peony bushes in a few short weeks, set to bloom by the end of May? A shut door is a protection; an open door is an opportunity, even if it's swinging wildly in the breeze.
Open Beauty; Protect Peace; Blessed Be.


  1. Oh, Mary. So beautiful. BTW, my Birdland peony is healthy and strong. I'll send you a picture when it blooms later this month. Happy May Day.-susan

  2. Thanks, Susan. My Indy peonies are doing well, but I don't think they will bloom until next year.