When I ran into Bubba-With-One-Leg (not the one who shot himself but the one who walks) and we chatted for a moment, I found my eyes spilling with tears for no reason at all except that he has the kindest eyes and he is always so sweet to me and he gets out and he walks and he notices when I've been missing and that was all it took.
"I'm a mess," I told him. And I am.
But it's okay. Maybe, like in the Jason Mraz song, a beautiful mess.
The blackberries are ripening and ready to begin picking. Some of them are small nubbins, the sort that you have to pick a million of to make a pie but some, the ones more in the shade, are big and plump and beautiful.
Those bushes, of course, are more scarce and I should get out there with my cut-off milk jug tied around my waist to pick the large ones and the small. There are no riches to compare with jars of blackberry preserves stored in the cabinet to open in winter, sweet purple-black jewels to spread on biscuits and pancakes. When I pick them, even if I am wearing long sleeves (a torture in this heat), the prickly bushes catch me and my arms end up bleeding and the thick, clotted spots look not unlike the the juice of the berries themselves, especially when have been cooked down with the sugar. We are made of salt though, so there the comparison ends.
The Gulf Coast Fritillaries are out, sipping from one plant to another. They are fluttering flowers, moving in and out of the bushes and it's not until you stop to look do you realize the sheer number of them. I hear that their favorite food is the nectar of the Passion Flower and those are beginning their blooming. I will get a picture soon although I have posted them many times. They delight me every year and every year, when I see them, I am reminded of the first time I ever saw one and I was so shocked by it- it was so completely unlike any flower I'd ever seen- that I truly did think it had arrived from another planet. There was no other explanation. But here is the butterfly, no less beautiful for its abundance.
Sssserpent, says my brain. Beware.
Even the most beautiful black snake I ever saw, lying in the sun and spied by me while I was picking berries a few years ago gave me that immediate reaction but I stood back and watched it for some time, awed by its beauty which is somehow alien too, like the Passion Flower.
I have two sagos blooming in my yard. One, the female.
It is making seeds. Can you see them?
And the other, most decidedly and proudly and erectly male.
I have on my overalls now. I think I will get out in the garden (moving slowly, so slowly) and do a little work there. I feel the need to journey with no apparent destination in my yard and house, perhaps like the Fritillary, flitting from this task to that one, from kitchen to laundry room, to garden, to hen house, picking up this, pulling that, trimming back this, washing, folding, tidying both in house and in yard. I do not want to identify myself today as anything in particular, neither indoor-creature nor out, and I have the AC off and the doors open so that there is no real delineation. The crickets are singing summer chorals and the air is still. I am putting myself back together again as I put my tiny world back together, or at least in some regard.
I do not really think I'm a mess at all. Not even a beautiful one. I am simply being. And if tears come easily, well, all for the better. There is no reason not to cry if I need to. There is no reason not to realize that this is a perfect day as it is, as I move slowly through it, as much a part of it as a sago bloom, a butterfly, a hen's egg, a tiny frog. This day is not unlike a blackberry, ripe and plump and ready to pick, sweet and warm from the sun.