Glug, horror, attention!

As some of you know I have, with the help of the wonderful team of Bob and Garrett Griffith, created a raised bed vegetable garden.

I love it. Veggies, you know? But here’s the problem… Bailey the Rescuepoo wandered out past the garden and was suddenly all muddy, as many short-legged white dogs might be. So I followed him, trying to get him to come back. Bath time.

And then it happened. I stepped… and my foot dissolved into nothing! I leaped up, and out and over! I don’t think I touched the solid ground for four feet. Up, by magical motion and out, by sheer will. And there was shrieking. The sort of shrieking one expects from a horror film.

I ran back into the kitchen and called The Best Beloved. “Didn’t you hear me scream???”

“Uh, no.”

“Fine, well, that’s duly noted, but we have a problem.”

“What do you mean?” he asked, with that look that means he thinks I’m exaggerating. (And ok, sometimes I am.)

“Come. Look at this.”  I found a big stick that had been torn off one of our trees in the recent storms. I walked The Best Beloved to the Problem Spot. It poked it.

This four-foot area jiggled like a bowl of jelly under the turf.

“Oh, my God,” said The Best Beloved. “Gross.”

Shudder. Right. That. It’s like a huge zit about to burst in our garden. (I apologize, that’s disgusting but it’s what it looks like.)

And okay, I know that it’s a drainage problem and it can be fixed. But let’s, for the moment, think of it as metaphor: You think you’re standing on solid ground and then, all of a sudden, you’re not. I mean you’re NOT. Your foot, your heart, your mind, falls down into the soggy swamp of nothingness. TERROR.

What do we trust when the earth falls out from beneath us? When everything we thought was solid – earth, relationships, faith, the government, our art, whatever.. all gone… — how do we keep faith?

I don’t have the answer, but I can tell you what I practice. I practice this:  a belief that no matter how the ground (metaphorical and actual) beneath me behaves, I trust I am held and loved, and cared for, and guided by something greater than I can understand.

It takes time, occasionally (snort) to get there. It takes tea with friends, and meditation and prayer and screaming into my pillow, and remembering moments when I thought for sure I would die but didn’t (more on that in future posts). It takes acceptance that sometimes the ground will be weird and treacherous.  And yet. And still… we are here, right here, and not alone.

I found this image, and part of me thinks it’s way too over the top, but another part of my thinks it’s perfect. Is it possible that being unsettled (as in the swamp thing) is a teaching moment? Maybe. Maybe.  Thoughts? I’m listening.


  1. Donna Wolfe on June 15, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    What a lovely temperate garden.

    You’ve had a shock. Lawns are not supposed to be bogs, especially lawns in Princeton, New Jersey. There must be an ordinance forbidding it.

    I’ve had moments like your bog dive–in an earthquake in Louisville, Kentucky when what was happening–room shaking, floor shifting, dishes rattling–did not jibe with my reality. My mind tried to overrule my experience saying: the world just doesn’t work like this.
    We all spend years as baby physicists figuring this out. I let go of my bottle, It drops. I let go of my bottle, it drops. I let go of my bottle it drops. It doesn’t fall down and shimmy around on the floor like its animated by an energy all its own. The “not in Kansas” moment calls everything into question. Am I a fool for feeling safe?

    The practical side of me says I can’t always be worrying about earthquakes, and sinkholes or an asteroid careening into the earth’s orbit. (if it does, I am depending on Steven Spielberg teaming up with Elon Musk to fix it before I become aware of the problem.) For me such moments are an adrenaline hit followed by a rush of gratitude that I can usually count on world to make sense.

    If only yours was a peat bog. Then there would the chance of a mummified corpse. What mystery was that?

    • Lauren B. Davis on June 15, 2018 at 2:26 pm

      Oh, we can’t worry too much, you’re right, Donna. What makes us think the world is solid, after all? Physics and mysticism would challenge us on our comfortable beliefs, and I think we’d be better for it. Reality is more plastic than we think. My garden, apparently, doubly so. Snort. But no corpses. Just a busted drainage pipe, now fixed. And the garden is now a riot of vegetables-in-process. Heaven, really.

  2. Wendy A. on July 7, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    It’s similar to when the unthinkable becomes something we must seriously consider and accept as is. Your comment about the being “guided by something greater than myself” really hit home for me reading it. I believe this also.
    Two evenings ago, walking briskly down a sidewalk along an downhill area of a residential street only 1/2 a block from my home, a car stop as I crossed a lane. Not even four steps along, I heard a crash and turned around to see the car which had stopped for me had sideswiped a parked car which then jumped the curb to sit over half-way across the sidewalk where I’d just walked and less than 5 seconds later. The driver got out of the car as I walked back to see if he was okay and said, “I heard something snap and i lost control of the steering.” The parked car hit also was bumped forward and damaged another vehicle. At the time was concerned the driver may faint from shock. He was a very pleasant young man around 30. Couldn’t believe what happened as it was a new car obviously faulty. As he was okay physically, I waited until a police car just happened to drive by and stopped to take care of the accident and then walked home. Slowly realized that for those few seconds of being further ahead on my walk (my journey in life) I would have ended up slammed by the car as it was exactly along the right side of the sidewalk where I’d walked. I’d have had no warning of the accident and would probably have been seriously hurt. I gave a few prayers to my God of thanks for the protection. Still feeling very grateful.

    • Lauren B. Davis on July 7, 2018 at 6:16 pm

      Oh, Wendy… thank goodness everyone was okay!! I’ve had similar experiences. The world is mysterious.

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