Folks have noticed my absence from regular postings.  I’m very grateful for this, and for ya’ll telling me about it.  This blog is so close to my heart and my life and nearly every passion of mine, that lately I’ve found it easier to take it for granted, as if it will always be here, even without my continual maintenance.

Unlike the more robust Southern plants that are hanging on just fine–okra, melons, peppers, sweet potatoes–I find I’m still challenged here in the summers of everlasting heat.  Of course I try to remain grateful for them, as for all, but just like the bountiful cucumbers and arugula all summer long, you never really miss them until they’re gone.

The more time I spend cultivating plants and relationships, the more they remind me of one another.  Country life has changed me in many ways, but most of all it has turned me into a sentimental sap.  And I’m really glad about that.

I’ve been focusing intently on my relationships of late, putting great energy and devotion into as many of them as I can manage at the level they require and deserve.  Knowing how much they require or deserve has been a delicate balance of learning through failure.  Just like the plants in my garden.

With relationships as with plants incredible patience and timing and observation are all essential.  There are growth stages, and ever-changing needs, and disasters that occur unexpectedly out of nowhere.  Some are resilient and bold, others fragile and ephemeral, all needing unique types of cultivation, but still requiring all the same things to thrive-water, air, light; love, patience, forgiveness.

I’m finding it difficult and demanding, with a learning curve equally large for each.  Every plant will teach you something, just like every relationship.  Whether dear old friends or new cyber buddies or family or neighbors, from the closest to the most estranged, in my heart I have blessed them all, because I have in some way felt blessed by them all.

Something has shifted and I realized sometime along the last year that I can no longer afford to be a cynic, even marginally, because the world is too over-populated with them already.  While isolated in the sticks my greatest intention has become more connection-to others, to the Earth, to the heavens, to myself.  I am now and forever focused on all that is possibility, no matter what it takes to maintain that focus.  It is my newly permanent raison d’être.

It’s not as big a leap for me as it is for some, I do tend toward optimism usually.  But with age and circumstance I’d found my heart beginning to close instead of continuing to open.  With every new shot of pain, too inevitable in our world, some choose to place another brick in their walls.  I will respect that.

But I will choose to take another step deeper into the waters of relatedness.  For every disappointment and hurt I will send back a tide of love.  I will open my heart and surrender to the lesson at hand, and when I get pulled on occasion down too deep for my own good, I will depend on those many varied relationships, whether flourishing or withering, past, present or future, and they will nourish me body and soul just as does my garden.