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Blooming (Or Not) Under Pressure

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Fix me, Baker. Work your magic. I'll do my best, Mother. You're Job One.

A mind-numbing bone breaker of a day. It started with a 5:15 AM wakeup. We had been asked to go play music for a little segment spotlighting local artists on our regional television station, WTAP, almost an hour away in West Virginia. We were to show up at 7:30. Ever try to sing at 7:30 in the morning, under hot TV lights? Me neither. By skipping breakfast and singing all the way there, I managed to croak out a few songs. I did prove myself utterly incapable of playing the pennywhistle, an instrument over which I had once, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, held some control. It was as if, while I was sleeping, someone had replaced my fingers with Vienna sausages. I fumbled my way through two tunes, everybody said it was great, Bill, who played and sang well, said not to sweat it, and that was that. On to the next Extreme Mental Challenge. Once again, an unrelenting a-s kicker.
Got home around 2 p.m. and had to take a walk. When I saw a female bufflehead floating on the neighbor's farm pond, I knew I had to get my blood moving and my head sorted out. Had to see some things I wanted to see, things that have nothing to do with anything, no relevance or hidden meaning. I had 30 minutes to seek them out.
A cardinal's cradle did nicely. A mockingbird, rare for our area, led me to it, flashing its white pinwheel wings into the honeysuckle tangle where this lovely little home lay waiting.
Baker was so happy that I was finally electing to take a walk that he leapt up and tried to take the clothespin bag off the clothesline. Just the kind of thing a Boston terrier would think was funny. Fortunately, we have the same sense of humor. I think Baker believes his middle name is GOOFBALL! I was delighted to see him limping a lot less than on our last jaunt, but I kept this one short so as not to overtax his stiff left hinder. I had to rush back to catch a 3:00 call, in which I'd try to figure out what my next book is going to look and sound like. The only way to get my head around to such a happy thing was to walk with Baker. I do not know what I would do without this little man-dog. There is no pill or liquor in the world that works the magic of the scent of his sweet fur.

I had a bona-fide telepathic event with Chet last evening. I was reading a short story about a dog fetching a tennis ball over a perilously great expanse of water. It was vividly written, and I got a mind-picture of the dog, struggling toward a neon-green tennis ball floating well out of reach. I was so intensely focused on the story that I barely noticed when Baker got up from where he was contentedly chewing a rope at my feet and dashed into the living room to rummage around in his toy bucket. He trotted back into the studio, full of purpose and pride, and placed his neon-green tennis ball in my lap. Though this was a completely unconscious communication (and doubtless more effective for it), I am convinced that there is a way to summon this mind-picture magic, and turn it to a force for good, and I intend to find it. Chet will be my partner in discovery.

My day ended with the realization that our huge Amana side-by-side refrigerator and freezer, which had been freezing vegetables and melting ice cream for the last week, had just handed in its resignation at the tender age of 10. I called six appliance repair places before I got anything other than, "We don't do home repairs," or "We're not in that business any more." I was pathetically grateful to get an answering machine, on which I spun a tale of woe and spoiled food that I hoped would translate into a prohibitively expensive rural service call sometime in the next week. Strength. Chet, give me strength.

The only thing to do seemed to be to go down and look into the greenhouse. It was 98 degrees in there when I opened the door. Oops. Sorry. These flowers and plants owe me absolutely nothing. Mary Alice, the peach colored hibiscus, wilts every day until I dump another gallon of water on her, and yet she will not be discouraged. I, who prided myself on being a horticulturist, have done no more than keep them alive all winter. I've not pruned or cut back; repotted, cleaned them up or shuffled them as they love and need me to do. I have merely maintained them. And they are pouring out their thanks in blossoms, responding to the lengthening days and rare peeks of sun with beauty unbounded.We should all bloom so well under stress, intense heat, and well-intentioned neglect.


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