That cucumber! How does this happen? We have two wooden planters on our deck. One with three tomato plants the other with three cucumber vines. The ripening tomatoes are always visible, their rosy cheeks peek through the vines when ready to be picked.
The cucumbers camouflage themselves, hiding as they secretly grow into monsters. I don’t understand how I can miss one while it becomes the size of a green football. This one hung off the back side, hiding behind a large leaf. Now it’s too big for us to enjoy, but Butternut, Anita’s little Harlequin (a breed of rabbit), nibbles off the end. He will eventually eat the whole thing. Nothing wasted.
Anita found this little bunny abandoned in the park when he was only a few weeks old. He was obviously someone’s pet because he was so tame. How he got there is a mystery. No one came to claim him so now Butternut has joined Bluebell in the basement. Wait. Not “joined” joined her. He has his own private hutch. Anita isn’t interested in more rabbits however cute they are. (At this time.)
Quite a while ago—perhaps a year or more?—I promised to write some about aging. What it is like. What difficulties? What pleasures? Obviously, I’ve fallen down on that thought. There is a worn-out phrase I hear about people my age and how we must learn to age gracefully. What are they talking about? That will never apply to me. I have no grace anymore. I trip. Fall. Stumble.
Recently I was carrying a load of wet laundry out to the clothesline. There is nothing like the scent of sheets dried in the outdoors. At night when I crawl between those sheets it is like being wrapped in sun and wind. Nothing else smells so good to me.
Anyway, I was carrying the laundry basket down the steps of the deck into the yard. On the top step, I tripped on the hose. I couldn’t see it over the basket. I pitched face forward, hit the cement with arms outstretched and the basket shot across the yard. I think holding on to it cushioned my fall somewhat before I let go. (You know how that is? No matter what, never drop what you are carrying?) I only cried a little. I banged up my legs good, but nothing broke. Lucky me.
Anita saw me fall and ran to help. She reprimanded me severely and demonstrated a new way to deliver the basket to the yard. Set it down at the top of the steps, give it a kick, and let it slide down to the bottom. Point taken. At 74, I’m not as strong or steady as I used to be. I smiled as I did that yesterday and the basket made a satisfying thump bang-bang on the way down.
I guess that’s the thing. Hoping someone will find you when you fall. And not laugh or make fun of you as you lie sprawled on the ground. Needing, hoping someone kind will come along to walk with you as you age. I know aging with grace applies to my heart attitude, not because I can’t walk a straight line even though I haven’t been drinking mint mojitos. I take comfort in Jesus’ promise to “. . . surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt 28:20). That’s good. Especially when, these days, we look out at the world, as well as looking at ourselves, and wonder how things can last as they are.
But this one is even better: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you” (Is. 46:4).
There it is then. Let’s walk with thankfulness. With the dear creatures we find, with sheets hung outdoors to dry, with our stumbles and falls, surrounded by promises of help to make it to the end whether we arrive in one piece or not.
Thanks to those who walk with me. Thanks to God who catches me when I fall.
P.S. I am the author of a series of three memoirs, The Place Trilogy.
The Exact Place: A Memoir
No Place: A Spiritual Memoir
This Place: A Memoir (of Sorts)
They can be ordered here.
Photos credit: by Margie Haack with her iPhone
- Cucumber & Butternut
- Tomatoes in the Wooden Planter
- Butternut Gets Swaddled (Not sure he likes this)
- The Basket and the Steps
- Sheets on the Line