Feet on the Earth

I've written about it before, and it doesn't change. Sometimes things get swirled and toxic in my head and I have a hard time breaking the surface for air. The questions I want to ask obsessively are from Crazy Town.*

Obsessively, as in, every waking moment. The questions that want to bubble to my lips? Is everyone mad at me? Is everyone mad at me? Are they angry? Do they hate me? Did I do something wrong? Did I say the wrong thing? Do they hate me? Do they hate me? Tall gleaming towers of fear and self-loathing loom over me.

I'm embarrassed to even talk about it. I don't want to take you in there with me. It is not who I want to be, not who I am. Chinua knows how to work with Crazy Town Rae. He knows to reassure, to try not to sigh too many times as I ask the same questions again and again, to tell me to walk for a while before I get too worked up. But I don't like to drag him there either.

It still happens. I'm still a bit broken. I am your broken writer, your broken friend. Sorry, I wish I was less chiseled away, that there were less shavings dropping off all over the place, making a mess.

But anyway. On the third day, after the weekend of insanity, it was garden day. I have taken steps to getting a garden put in in front of the meditation center. And at every step I can think of a thousand obstacles, a thousand reasons why I shouldn't undertake this big project.

I am ignoring them. Small step by small step.

Today two guys showed up with pick axes and a goods carrier full of bricks to help me make the lines for the garden beds. We canceled school for a garden day.

The kids and I dismantled the play house they'd made out of bigger bricks and palm fronds and found objects (read: trash) and after many tears reassembled it, out of the way. I drew curves on the ground where the bricks would go, a sort of Andy Goldsworthy (long time readers, can you tell who my favorite sculptor is?) river shape, which goes against the grain entirely in India. Jaya asked me (yes, Jaya, that is another story) WHY the curves, why not straight? And I answered that plants follow these curves, so in the garden I want curves, not straight lines. I don't know if she was convinced.

I swept the dirt. I labored and carried stones and old leaves. I started a compost pile in anticipation of next year.

Happiness broke over me like waves, like I was sitting at the sea's edge, swung over me in arcs, like the sun's path day after day. I felt myself being oriented in now, in today, my feet back on the earth, not in the netherworlds of despair and fear.

This is why I am making a garden: for today. Not for questions of future or past, but to touch the earth and give thanks to God for a flower or a curvy line on the ground, or a small tree that won't be big for another ten years.

These tangible things bring me back to rest within, to thankfulness. There are other things that do, as well, but today it was being in the garden with my hands in the dirt.

*Ira Glass was talking about Crazy Town on This American Life last week, and I have to say I love the term.

(The photos are from a small village outside of Hampi that Johanna and I cycled to on our last day there. I loved the village and all the daily work going on, the small ways people made their surroundings lovelier. The banner is from that day, by the way. I feel that I have to be honest and say thataround here I am mostly on a motor scooter... eek! But that day of cycling was breathtaking.)