"How The Light Gets In"
SUNNYSIDE UP MOMENT - MAY 7, 2020
DAY FIFTY-TWO OF THE CORONAVIRUS QUARANTINE FOR US AT STACK 'EM HIGH PANCAKES AND SO FORTH
About twenty years ago, Nick started planting hedgerows for their beauty and for their natural ability to block wind, light pollution and noise. Russian olives, hollies, euonymus, pittosporum, arborvitae, rosemary and lavender line the perimeter and meander throughout the yard. They vary in height from two feet to ten. Games of hide-n-seek and tag as well as the corralling of toddlers and pets have certainly benefited from these living, breathing barriers. Nick is the resident caretaker of these rambling rows. Figuring all sides, he guesstimates our yard is home to well over half a mile of hedgerow.
A tornado came through our neighborhood last week. There was a bit of structural damage around the corner from our house, but the brunt of the wind was taken by the tall pines and live oaks throughout lower Currituck. When the wind settled and the rain stopped, we ventured out to assess the aftermath. Unfortunately a tree split cleanly down the middle, crushed a large section of our hedge and left a mangled mess of devastation. I have lived here for fifteen years, and it was the first time I have ever seen the southern side of our neighbor’s house. Not kidding. Of course, the important thing is that there was no damage to life or limb. But it was shocking to see a wound so deep in the flesh of these loyal sentinels that have stood guard around our house for so many years. For a moment, I felt uncomfortable, vulnerable and strangely exposed.
Rather unexpectedly, Governor Cooper announced yesterday an accelerated plan to reopen the state. Our tri-county area in turn announced the lifting of all entry restrictions by tomorrow night. That feeling of shock and vulnerability returned on a much larger, more intense, all-consuming scale. The momentum we have all been waiting for stopped me in my tracks. The announcement heralding the implementation of Phase I did not sound like music to my ears as I had expected it would. Instead, the unraveling of the safe and protective swaddling cloth I have been wrapped in for months made me feel naked, cloaked only in unease.
Then once again, Mother Nature beckoned me forward and shrouded my bare shoulders with Her sense of calm and collectedness. The fast moving, violent storm had uprooted trees and ripped strong branches from even stronger stalks. For days we had to carefully navigate fallen debris in our midst. Now, just a week later, the trampled grass is alive with clover and tiny blossoms are emerging from the remaining jagged edges of hedge. Vacant spaces are being filled with infant vines. The steadfast evolution of things is quietly playing out right in front of me. The earth's bruises and blemishes are being transformed into something stronger and new. Leonard Cohen asks us to “Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” The next phase is the natural evolution of things. And yes, it makes us vulnerable. We must tread lightly on this sacred ground and crawl before we run, that's how the world moves on.