Toward the end of August I begin to dream about fall, how
this place will empty of people, the air will get cold and
leaves begin to turn. Everything will quiet down, everything
will become a skeleton of its summer self. Toward
the end of August I get nostalgic for what’s to come, for
that quiet time, time alone, peace and stillness, calm, all
those things the summer doesn’t have. The woodshed is
already full, the kindling’s in, the last of the garden soon
will be harvested, and then there will be nothing left to do
but watch fall play itself out, the earth freeze, winter come.
~David Budbill “Toward the End of August” from Tumbling Toward the End.
I dream now of fall, wanting this stubborn summer to flame out, to leave its bare bones behind. The last few weeks have been particularly cruel with wildfires, hurricanes, drought, sweltering heat, and flooding rains. As if nature is not damaging enough, humanity continues to threaten humanity with local and global violence and threats of annihilation, while hundreds of thousands of refugees migrate from one poor country into even poorer countries in search of some semblance of hope and security for a safe future.
Anxiety and despair seem appropriate responses in the face of so much tragedy – they take root like weeds in a garden patch– overwhelming, crowding out and impairing all that is fruitful. The result is nothing of value grows–only unchecked proliferation of more weeds. My worry and anguish help no one and changes nothing, serving only to hinder me from being fruitful.
It shouldn’t take bad news and disaster to remind me of what I already know:
I am not God and never will be. He tends the garden and He pulls the weeds when the time is right.
His harvest is at hand. Either I’m fruit or weed.
Acknowledging this is everything. There is nothing left to do but watch as it plays itself out.
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