The birds are louder than the thunder this morning. As I step outside well before sunrise, it feels like I have cracked the door to some ancient time, and am walking into a cathedral choir of songbirds. The acoustics — the kind you can only experience with high ceilings and insulated walls — swell about me. I’m guessing the low-hanging clouds and sheets of rain have somehow created the ideal sound house for reverberation.
As the weeping of heaven becomes more guttural, the thunder has moved from snare claps to timpani rolls. The birds sing piano now, and allow the sky its solo measures. How does one not hear the symphony that is life? There are frequencies in everything. All created things produce sound. Even the rocks are on standby to cry out in worship if we refuse to. We all carry a unique sound and song within us, and in the hemmed-in confines of hard things, it rings truest and clearest.
I gave my neglected garden an honest day’s work yesterday, racing against the rain that is serenading me now. I see the lavender and eggplant I sowed, in standing water. Maybe I should have built a trench around them. I knew rain was awaiting, and now I fear my tender plants will drown in the incessant downpour. I’ve lost a few young plants to heavy rains this spring. The lavender took months to grow from seed indoors. I will lament like these skies if I lose it to flooding. Suppose it’s sink or swim now. It’s been trying to work around all the severe weather we’ve had. I have been on the verge of giving up this year, and letting the weeds and weather win. But I can’t quit this Eden; I’ll just keep giving it what I can, as I can. Something is better than nothing.
As I was wringing with sweat yesterday, trying to hide my fair frame between sunflower patches, I was thinking on strength. Specifically, the strength of one’s life. I once had zealous might that I assume is afforded to youth. I do not sense that caliber of strength in me these days. It’s different now. What I believe I have here is endurance: strength strung out over time. My zeal in days past allowed me to spearhead and ascend mountains. My present endurance allows me to persevere through valleys and deserts. I wonder what I’ll sense in my bones in a decade from now? What will my strength look like then? Will it even look like strength at all?
I’m not entirely convinced that what I produce in strength will ever rival what’s produced in weakness; what I manufacture in zeal, could hold a candle to what’s been forged through failure. Maybe it’s a cocktail of all the bitters and syrups. Enough to make me stagger a bit, that’s for certain. Either way, I’ll keep moving. If there ever was an equation, I’m surely not the one to factor it out. It’s back to simple math for me. Back to one step plus one step equals two. One win plus one failure equals still in the game. Even if there are all these rain delays.