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Where My Heart Beats

Folklore played through the speakers as I drove west down the gravel road with the twins in tow, bringing fall to mind, making me yearn for it even though summer has only just begun. So many things about autumn — the goldenrod, the nodding sunflowers, the sound of the wind through cornstalks — make my heart beat a little faster. This fall, my children will turn three. It's so hard to believe that already four summers have passed since I carried them in my belly while tending my garden: My heart keeping theirs beating as they found their own rhythms; Before my eyes had ever met theirs; Before I knew their faces like the back of my hand.

Lately, well, often, I find it difficult to stay in the present. My mind wants to live in moments past or in potential moments of the future — reminiscing or imagining. So I know that, come fall, I’ll be reliving the moments of now, but surely the whisper of the cool wind will pull me back to the present, just as the compass plant buds on the cusp of blooming are begging me to just be right here, right now.

In this present, it’s the summer. solstice, the longest day of the year, the beginning of the season: The milkweed tempts butterflies and bees with her flowery perfume; Elderberry begins to shed her confetti-like flowers in favor of new green berry buds; The cosmos are just days away from bursting forth; And the calendula shines as brilliantly as the new summer’s sun.

In this present, my garden isn’t thriving, but it isn’t dying either. It’s a puzzle to be solved rather than a painting to be admired.

In this present, I stand in the heat of the midday sun, lost in thought as water from the hose in my hands rains down on my plants. I silently ask them what they need from me to thrive. If I’m willing to listen, I’ll realize they’ve been trying to tell me.

But that’s how it goes sometimes: we listen when we’re ready, and not a moment sooner. Maybe I haven’t been able to hear them because it’s been too loud in my mind — too much clutter drowning out their cries. Maybe their signals broke through, but just barely, just enough that I was aware they were there, but not enough to be able to hear them with clarity.

In this present, I whisper, I’m listening now, and I’ll do my best not to wish a different beginning to our season or hope for a more abundant ending. I’ll do my best to receive them where they are, find beauty in what is, and not wish for more. For though, like life, the summer season is fleeting, I can, perhaps, slow it down if I’m here to feel the thump-thump of my own heart beating. Like the bees' wings beating, my heart doesn’t thrum in the past or future, only in this very moment.

So here I am, and here I’ll try to stay: in this present place where the sun is hot on my face, and the water flows from the hose to my struggling plants, and my heart beats as do the bees’ wings.


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