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September 15, 2009
With the sound of the mower outside the window comes the sweet smell of freshly-cut grass. I suppose this is one of the last haircuts our tiny bit of lawn will receive this year: maybe one or two more, but its growth has slowed as it senses the impending cold. There's hardly any grass left, anyway: almost everything here is either miniature woodland for animals -- some raccoons live in the tree between our house and that of Grace Next Door, and we used to have an opossum and a family of skunks, as well -- or part of the perennial garden.

The garden had a strange year with us gone, that's for sure. We won't recoup all of its its losses or sort out all its uninvited guests this season, but soon enough it will go to sleep, and we'll make a new start next year. Ethel the hummingbird did not appear this year, not as far as I know -- but then, we weren't in town for the height of the monarda season, and it's hard to imagine her missing that if she were around.

That's the nice thing about hummingbirds: you may have them in your garden and not know it. They're little, and they're fast. I know where to look for them, but I'm not looking for them all the time - I do have to make a living. So maybe Ethel is here right now, bellying up to the buddleia for a tall one, and I just haven't seen her yet. This is a pleasant notion to entertain: it is entirely possible that what I long for really already here.

This was the premise of The Wizard of Oz: what the characters sought was really in their possession all the time. Nobody was more compassionate than the Tin Man, who thought he didn't have a heart. The Cowardly Lion found the courage within himself to defend Dorothy, and the brainless Scarecrow thought his way out of more than one narrow escape during their hazardous journey. Is it possible that at least some of my deficits are also false ones? That I just haven't seen some of my gifts yet?

It's not only possible, it must be so. As long as we're still breathing, we have options, things we can still become. And we probably have more of them than we think.

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