Saturday morning before work finds me with a rag and the vinegar bottle, hands and knees on my kitchen floor, working.
The 10,000 things? The mysteries of the universe? The uncountable varieties of growing things in a Vermont July? Scrubbing the kitchen floor is one of these — as much as exploring waterfalls.
a time to live
and a time to die
but never to reject the moment.
— Lao Tzu
When my little daughter was three, one morning in the kitchen she noticed the orange day lilies had opened their buds, and she ran upstairs to her sister, calling, Willies! Willies, sissy!
Yesterday, driving around Vermont — perhaps in an attempt to shake off a funk — day lilies bloomed everywhere, colorful masses along the roadside and white clapboard meeting houses and tiny shacks with fantastic views of green and blue mountains.
Fully into July now, I know our summer will be filled with work — some terrific and some not so — with the family complexities of single parenting, of keeping our life not only cohesive but creative. There’s lists of things I’d like to do — climb the Underhill route to Mansfield’s summit, paint the trim, plant two fruit trees — but lying in bed this morning, listening to the songbirds crack open the daybreak, I decided to par this down to one single thing: swim in the pond until the water grows cold and hostile. I lay there thinking that’s free to do, and then wondered when I had lost the sense of free in this life might be.
… (the day lily is) coarse and ordinary and it’s beautiful because
it’s ordinary. A plant gone wild and therefore become
rugged, indestructible, indomitable, in short: tough, resilient,
like anyone or thing has to be in order to survive.
— David Budbill, from “The Ubiquitous Day Lily of July”