by Steve & Barry Simpson
The evening was a dream. Laying in the hammock my wife had given me for my birthday, I watched as twilight set in. Looking up from my woven sling into the slowly darkening sky made me drowsy and soothed my senses.
I was captivated by the varying shades of blue spreading across the small patch of heaven above me. Shades of turquoise, then medium satin blue, then dark velveteen blue rolled in like lazy ocean waves.
Each time I closed my eyes, they reopened to darker tones and richer color saturation.
Situated on a small strip of grass facing the sharply peaked roof of our house, a brace of towering blue spruce trees shaded my back. To my left, a magnificent old cherry tree spread its over-sized branches in a protective embrace.
To my right, the garage roof blocked the lights of the nearby convenience store. I could just see the full bodied locust tree peering around the edge of the house.
There was a slightly cooling breeze that caused the tree branches to sway in slow, rhythmic motions. The leaves danced on the wind, making a barely discernible rustle in the night air.
The multitude of small birds inhabiting our desert oasis whirred about overhead, causing a ruckus while they settled in for the night.
I could hear my wife digging in the flowerbed near the south wall, certain she regretted providing me a reason to loaf while she immersed herself in yard work.
My much-used excuse of being highly allergic to any form of plant matter had begun to wear thin. I am pretty sure I gave myself up the other day when I shared my appreciation for The Pollen Path, a collection of Navajo myths retold by Margaret Kent. I feared Laurie had misconstrued my message and would somehow use it against me.
Thinking of the book, I shared an inspirational quote with her. It goes like this, “Remember always to walk in the pollen path of peace and of blessing. Be still within yourself, and know that the trail is beautiful.
“Whenever you are in danger, walk carefully and quietly. Your feet will be blessed with pollen and your hands will be blessed with pollen. Let your mind and your voice go forward on the pollen path.”
I informed Laurie that Steve and I had decided to walk the pollen path.
Since we live and work with people who appreciate those who attempt to understand their culture, it seems a reasonable thing to do.
Thus far I have found the path fairly easy to navigate. Since I am a reasonable and easygoing fellow, it has not been much of a challenge.
Steve, on the other hand, has had to overcome many obstacles and keeps meandering from one side of the path to the other, often falling into the bar ditch, muddying himself in the process.
My dream scene came to an abrupt end as I looked into the frustrated face of my hard working wife.
“Oh! Hi honey, I was just thinking about that pollen book I have been reading.”
Laurie looked seriously at me and said, “Maybe you can follow the path to the garden, it needs watering, and I am sure you will find lots of pollen there.”
I frowned at her, knowing I had personally provided the ammunition necessary to upend my relaxation.
Shaking my head in wonder at her carefully crafted reply and complete lack of sympathy for my relationship with nature, I carefully removed myself from the hammock and headed onto the garden.
Clearing my mind, I refrained from voicing what would surely prove to be an unpopular opinion. My pollen path was turning into a slippery slope.
As I watered tomatoes, corn and pumpkin plants, Laurie followed me into the patch and began weeding. We talked about the day’s events, and fell into an easy, jocular discussion about who was being bossy, who was working too hard and who was just plain lazy.
As I stood watching, listening and learning, reality set in and the evening took on a warm, embracing glow. The beauty around me is of a rich, vibrant nature, there was compassion, caring, understanding, support and above all else, a deep and abiding love.
All of that, along with the wonders of the natural world, provided me a feeling of belonging, and a sense of being that I could not have imagined in my earlier days.
It seems that whether you are seeking the pollen path or stumbling onto the garden path, family plays an important role in making the journey a success, dreams and reality seem to merge when you walk these trails.