I forgot to water the plants- the ones on the porch.
They trip me up sometimes, because when it rains, I think, “Oh, the garden got water today,” and I forget about how thirsty the poor geraniums and petunias must be, languishing in their terra cotta pots under the protective eaves out front, withering, longing for something cool and wet to nourish them.
When I wandered out to get the mail and saw the state they were in, guilt stabbed me in the stomach. Oh, no. Something else I’ve forgotten to handle this week– along with the backflow of laundry, the phone call to sign up for gymnastics, the late gift for Father’s Day, the early birthday gift, the follow-up call to the friend who is moving, the past-due playdate…a list of loose ends, twisting and flapping in the dry wind.
I’m worn out this week.
I wish I could say it was the first week of the summer that I’ve felt this way, but it isn’t. Where is all the extra margin, this luxurious time for reading and relaxing on the deck and watching fireflies? Where are all the evenings of lingering over dinner on the patio and enjoying the sunset, stretching back into the space that surrounds us and collecting the stars as they emerge, one by one, in the night sky? Where is the legendary soaking up of sunshine? Why doesn’t this summer feel the way I’d paint it (that is, if I could paint it the way I imagine it ought to be)?
I haven’t been soaking up much of anything lately. Mostly, I’ve just been dropping balls everywhere I look this summer…and I’m not even sure why.
As I retrieve the pink elephant watering can and pick up an eager helper on the way to the spigot, I notice the hanging basket. It was the victim of last week’s forgetfulness…the basket I forgot to water for a few days in a row, the one that was a brown, dry mess when we got home after a weekend away. The same guilt stabbed me then as I rushed to water it on Monday, the rivulets beading up on the parched soil and forming shimmering blobs before gradually soaking into the cracks around the edges of the pot. I pulled off ten, twenty, thirty dead blooms (while my helper danced about me, calling out, “Deadhead! Deadhead!”), trying to coax the plant back to a greenish appearance, hoping against hope I hadn’t killed it.
Today, it’s Friday, and that plant is blooming all over the place like it belongs on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens.
Somehow, that feels like hope to me.