Monday, October 29, 2007

TOADAL FRUSTRATION -- (With sincere apologies to Mr. Toad, from the gardener)

I’m not much of a gardener—mainly I’m a get-excited-in-the-spring; abandon-the-garden-in-the dog-days-of-summer kind of gardener. Like the spring rains, I nurture my flowers, watering frequently, weeding, cutting off the dead flowers, weeding, watering. And like the heat of August, I quickly fizzle when I sizzle, retreating to the comfort of my air conditioned house where I relax, sipping a cold glass of raspberry ice tea.

It’s mid September and I’m proud to say that I’m still making an effort to tend my precious babies, although this dry spell is testing my devotion. My routine involves spraying myself thoroughly with bug repellent and throwing myself to the mosquitoes who are not to be fooled by a little chemical barrier and are soon attracted to my sweat as it swiftly washes off the repellent. I fill up my watering cans and lug them to the front yard where I give each flower a generous drink of water. I know that there is an easier way to accomplish the task, but I continue to fill, lug, and quench. I love to be outdoors, so I don’t care that I’m not being time-efficient.

One afternoon, I noticed something floating in one of my watering cans. Thinking that it was a leaf, I ignored it and kept to my task. After I was done, I placed the can back in it’s rightful spot by the hose caddie—and noticed a scratching sound coming from the can. Low and behold, what I thought was a leaf was actually a toad!

Just imagine what Mr. Toad’s tenure in the can must have been like! There he is, minding his own business, quietly contemplating toadly concerns, when all of a sudden, he finds himself in a deluge of water riveting down on him from my highly specialized nozzle which, by the way, I have set on “jet.” Up he floats, as the water rises, to the top of the can, finding himself smooshed between can and the churning water surface, precious little breathing room to boot.Much to his relief, the water level begins to drop, eventually depositing him safely on the bottom of the can once again. Oh, oh! Look out below! Water once again pellets him, and slowly floats him to the top amid the roiling waters. And the cycle repeats itself again and again.

Finally, the can is dropped to the ground where it tips over, allowing an escape. While toads can hop quickly, avoiding capture, they can also be tentative in their actions. Mr. Toad takes his time, resting cautiously on the threshold. He listens patiently as I offer my condolences and apologies for the traumatic experience I have caused him to endure.

As I continue my yard work, I peek back occasionally, to see if Mr. Toad is still debating whether to stay or flee. Yes, He’s still debating… and debating… and debating… and finally I look and the watering can threshold is toadless. But he’s not ventured far. I can see him hiding out in the shade under the heat pump.

I’ve had days like this, haven’t you? Life in the watering can can be a tumultuous wash, can it not? Such days you just want to say, “Can it!” and go back to bed. I could go on and on with my canny humor, but I won’t. Gotta’ go water my flowers!But before I do, I’d like to share with you David’s words of blessing for difficult days:

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
Psalm 20:1-2

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