I’ve been hit on the head with branches. I got a blackberry briar stuck in my hair. I’ve moved overly friendly snakes from the threshold of my door with a rake, sent my goddaughter Lucy out to shake her fist at red-tail hawks while my little chicken flock was wandering outside, been stung by various angry insects, and had a whole flock of wild turkeys flushed out of the woods and onto my head by my German Shepherd, Siggy. But this past Monday was one of the most exciting garden moments yet!
I was about to start an afternoon meeting when I noticed the rumble of thunder in the background – actually less of a rumble and more of a roar. When I looked outside, I could have sworn I’d missed my meeting and it was bedtime, because it was as dark as the end of a German art film. Within a few minutes the sky was filled with crackling lightning, the electricity was dead, and the yard and the street out front had become a fast-moving river.
The pebble paths that had seemed so zen a few moments before were tumbling over themselves to get somewhere far away. The carefully raked mulch was forming floating islands, and the poor plants were bent over, washing their heads in the furious currents of water that raced past their formerly sleepy beds. (Update: my okra has decided that it might be safe to stand up straight again and the zinnias twisted themselves into Dr. Seuss shapes that made for quite an interesting bouquet when I deadheaded them.)
But the water didn’t stop at tormenting the flowers. It realized that the door to our patio provided a route indoors, and it decided to make itself at home in the carpet – fortunately already scheduled for removal. All in all, it was as exciting an afternoon as we’ve had for some time here at this end of the apocalypse.
When it was over, while some of my flowers were looking a bit discomposed, it seems that they all made it through. The sand washed out from under our patio stones; the pebble paths will need another load of pebbles; the mulch is a lost cause; and we spent the evening tearing out carpet. We will have many hours worth of work ahead of us.
And somehow, after the storm I was in the best mood I’ve been in for some time. In a time of plagues, and rising seas, murder hornets, Saharan dust clouds, and advancing fascism, there was something about seeing the water cascading through my little garden, carrying sticks, and pebbles, and this and that in sheer excitement, something about the undoing, the small-scale destruction, that seemed almost playful. The earth seemed in the same mood as a child saying “Watch me!” and then leaping into a lake, or jumping onto a sled and heading towards the road. The panic is swallowed up in relief as soon as the observer knows tragedy is avoided.
And so as frightening as it was at the time, it turned out to be a moment’s lark for mother nature. We were all alive and no serious harm was done. Yes, there are flooded basements and insurance claims, but everyone is safe and sound. (Our neighborhood contractor is having a very good month!)
And after the rain…oh afterwards! It was golden hour and the sun was melting into a sheer puddle that lay across the road. Every rain drop that clung to a branch or leaf reflected the sun like a cut crystal bead. The butterflies and bees shook themselves off soon enough and headed back to work, and the evening turned off cool and surprisingly pleasant. Even the silly zinnias in the front of the bed, the ones that had decided the best way to weather the storm was to lay prostrate in the flood waters, were bending their heads up to look around at the wet world.
I know sooner or later, real disasters strike. Nature is not always kind or only roughly playful. But I didn’t mind having an underwater garden for an afternoon and at least the work left behind is garden work!
More gardening fun with Sacred chickens:
A Trip to the Botanical Garden
In Which Jarad Prattles on About the Benefits of Gardening
Julie Carpenter is the creator of the Sacred Chickens website. She is dedicated to telling stories and making sure that indie writers and publishers have a way to be heard. She uses narrative, her own and others’, to help interpret the world. She has a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Memphis, with an emphasis in Composition Theory. She wants to bend reality one story at a time. Julie’s work has appeared in Fiction on the Web and will be included The New Guard. She is currently working on a novel.