My doorbell rang at 4:30 Sunday morning. Hours earlier my neighbourhood suffered lashing rain, jagged lightening and violent gale-force winds. The storm uprooted an enormous Manitoba Maple that shaded my backyard garden for the 25 years that I’ve been digging in the dirt here. The helmeted hydro worker at my door informed me, “Ma’am, (yes… Ma’am) we have to shut down your power and your neighbour’s and pull the lines before they snap.” Five minutes later the house went dark except for flickering candles and the glow of my phone as I dialled the numbers of tree services in the city.
At 6:30 the same morning, a tree service employee returned my call and dispatched an orange-vested crew in a tree-truck, wielding chain saws and pole saws. For the next five hours they sawed, buzzed, chipped and hauled my tree away–piece by piece.
The garden looks naked without those limbs waving overhead. Bright sunshine washes the whole back yard in heat and rays. I feel naked too. Exposed. My shield of leaves is gone; I’m exposed to the neighbours on the other side of the fence.
And yesterday was Day 4 (yes if you’re counting–I should have a bigger number) but I don’t. Today though, I’m on Day 5. Despite that all, and I mean ALL day, the seductive, wolfie voice kept whispering, “You deserve a drink today. After what this day has been like, the chaos, no hydro for 12 hours, losing your tree, the shocking expense of hauling the tree away…you deserve a reward.” If I’d caved, I’d be back to a new Day 1. I don’t want a new Day 1.
The light flooding into my garden will change everything. The garden will be different. Some plants will thrive–grow fat and lush, others will be sunburned and crispy. I’ll end up plunking them in shadier, more dappled digs out front.
Today, I feel like my garden. Sober me will be different. Sober me is already different. Yesterday, I didn’t anesthetize the stress, chaos or loss. I wanted to. I debated about it–about buying a bottle of wine. About drinking a bottle of wine. I debated for quite a while. Then I decided I’d take a walk at my favourite place, the tree farm. If I still felt like drinking after that, I’d buy the bottle.
I didn’t feel like it.
Instead, I allowed myself to feel what the day had been. Stressful. Chaotic. But also hopeful. I’m saddened by the loss of my shady, dappled garden and that knarled old tree. But this morning, I’m excited to try plants that sunbathe. I’m excited to see plants already growing in my garden come out of the shadows and shine. I’m excited about the potential for me to shine. To thrive. (Not the “grow fat” part but the lush part.) I’m excited about coming out of the shadows. I’m excited about the sunshine of living with honesty and truth. And what life might be like if I stay sober. No more Day 1s.
I think it will be good. Very good.