Communion Of Dreams


Planting hope, discovering strength.

My special-order plants arrived yesterday. Bhut Jolokia, Fatalii, and Red Savina chile peppers (man, you gotta love a pepper with the name Fatalii). Ivory Egg and Opalka heirloom tomatoes. These will be supplemented with other peppers and tomatoes I can get locally.

So, since we’d gone several days without rain, I was finally able to get into the garden and do the tilling that has needed to be done for the last couple of years. And since it had been a couple of years since I had done it, the ground was hard, compacted, uncooperative. I basically spent six hours wrestling with the rototiller. Six hours being jarred, hands going numb, shoulders aching. But also six hours thinking.

Not serious thinking. Not most of the time. Not when I was in a life or death struggle with the machine. Mostly it was random free association, going over this or that neglected chore, replaying a conversation I’d had at a city meeting the day before. But there was also some time for real contemplation. Real introspection beyond consideration of how sore my back was.

And somewhere in there I discovered something. Strength. Not physical strength – at 50 I don’t really expect to reclaim the physical strength I had at 30. Rather, a kind of strength of personality. A sense of my own potency. A realization that this had come back to me.

Oh, it hadn’t been a complete stranger. It takes a kind of personal strength to close a beloved business, and to care for a beloved family member until their death. Instead of glimpses and flashes of the thing that kept me going the exhaustion of those years, this was more . . . whole? Unified? Tempered?

I dunno. But it was – is – there. A sense that I can do more now. That I am more capable. More secure in my abilities.

I have always felt as though this life were a thing caught just at the edge of full consciousness, in the mildly euphoric hypnogogic state as you emerge from a dream into morning. And so there is often the sense that one is only now coming to full wakefullness, full integration of your faculties. And so it is again, with this renewed sense of personal power, the upward arc of my bipolar cycle.

And soon, I’ll be planting tomatoes and peppers. That always makes me feel good.

Jim Downey


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I’ll be planting tomatoes and peppers. That always makes me feel good.

There is a saying: He who plants a garden has hope for the future. Enjoy.

Comment by ML




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