This summer, I’m determined to wrestle my garden into order. This means getting down on my hands and knees, shoving my hands deep into the dirt and stretching so far that my muscles ache.
I feel embarrassed. My body groans. I wipe a hand across my face and hope that the neighbours aren’t watching.
I feel humiliated. I also feel alive.
Once my hands are washed, I return to my latest sewing project. It’s a simple make, yet it doesn’t feel easy. I can see that the best way of finishing my sleeve hem is to hand sew, so I settle to it.
I take a length of thread, run it through wax, lick the end and squint to thread the needle. I bend over the work, and gather enough humility to devote – 30? 60 minutes? – to finishing my sleeves.
I understand not to pull too taut. Sigh quietly when the thread pops from the needle’s eye and needs running through again. (Think that maybe I need reading glasses.) Sink the point of the needle into the cloth and see if I can pick up a single thread in the weft. Fail. Try again…
I am not sure that everyone is capable of what we do. It’s not that the tasks are overwhelming, but they demand humility. The humility to be nothing more than a link in a chain.
When I knit, I remember my grandmothers. When I dig my hands into the soil, I think of my mother who helped me in the first garden I ever owned. (As though anyone owns a garden.) As I work, I plan a blog post in my imagination, for the friends who go on this journey with me. Some of them I know; some I’ll never meet.
All of this takes humility. To sew the seeds that will grow and die or the stitches that no one will ever see. Unless I blog about them. Or don’t blog about them. And even if I do blog about them, how long shall blogs exist? But the stitches and the plants continue to exist, even when no one is looking.
Especially when no one is looking.