Photo credit: My Mama (no really, my mom took this)
It's springtime! Cue the happy band. Having recently (re)read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (highly recommended), I'm in a gardening kind of mood. Our lovely lawn has been taken over by dandelions, and my unpruned hydrangea bush is headed for another year without blooms, but that's okay because the soil I'm digging up is destined to grow delicious, kitcheny things.
We built some raised beds to house a vegetable garden this year. CPod and the boys played with power tools while I mixed batches of peat moss and compost. As I dragged the rake through the soil, over and over, I kicked off my flip-flops and felt the good, clean squish of damp dirt between my toes. My muscles strained, my breath came faster, and I caught myself smiling.
Enjoying the moment? Happy to be productive? Excited at the prospect of home-grown tomatoes, squash, beans, zucchini, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, basil, parsley? Definitely. All of the above. But more.
I had a flash of clarity, working there in that garden -- a fleeting glimpse of eternity as I felt a brief but poignant kinship with generations of women in my family who had done exactly what I was doing in that very moment. My muscles remembered, suddenly, what they had been designed to do. In that instant, I understood that it's not just my character that has been shaped by the men and women who came before me. The very molecules of my body are a reflection of who we have all been, collectively, over the years.
My mom likes to say she has always been a square peg in a round hole. And when she and my dad had children, they raised a bunch of square pegs. Try rhombus pegs. Or stars. Any polygon, really, as long as it's incongruent with Normal. But a few times in my life, I have found places, done things, met people who made me feel like my peg was just the shape that was missing: On stage, enthralled, drinking up my first full symphony orchestra experience. In front of a class, teaching -- any subject. With certain dear friends through the years. Meeting my husband. Holding my babies for the very first time. When the words are flowing, and I recognize myself in what I've written. In the wonderful church that I have embraced (and been embraced by) my whole life, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In Blogland, with all of you square pegs out there. Wandering around the medieval streets of a small European town. Exploring places, any place, indoors, outside, wilderness, city, museums, mountains. Always, with my family full of multifaceted pegs. And now, working in the dirt. (I should have seen it coming.)
I'm going to call it resonance -- a soul-deep recognition of something you were born to do. Tell me, dear readers -- what were you born to do?