Learning to Breathe

I woke up to heavy rain this morning, an unusual happening in SoCal in April. Wet weather was early and late this year, but something to surely be grateful for. Within seconds, the circumstances we are living in descended, and I had the sense that although the next two weeks will be difficult, we are at the nadir on our collective journey of living in a world where microbes have the ultimate power.

According to experts, the next two weeks will be rough for Americans. I read about the climbing statistics and the horror of medical systems being overwhelmed. But there are also a few glimmers of hope on the horizon, as the infection curve appears to be flattening in a few places and there are less new admissions in outbreak hot spots. I cannot predict the future, and what I write today will surely change tomorrow. Still …

So here I am, listening to the rain and looking out at the green hills and the mountains shrouded with misty clouds. I reflect on exactly how the pandemic has affected me—probably the same way your life has changed. I am overwhelmed by the kindness of friends, family, and neighbors. I long for a close-up and personal connection with those I love. And I am acutely aware of those for whom this time has been beyond challenging. I pray for all of us as we make our own way through this incredibly sticky web.

One thing I have been struck by is the constancy of the outside world, and somehow this has helped attach me to reality. When I focus on nature, I feel like God the Creator is a breath away, even though it seems like the world is collectively holding its breath—as if afraid to exhale. And so I go into the garden purposefully to get grounded, and I notice things that help me put down roots …

On Saturday, I discovered ten black, yellow, and white delicately striped monarch caterpillars on our milkweed plants—the first ones of the year. They are ten signs of metamorphosis.

On our apricot tree, there is a limb that has buds, leaves, and nickel-sized fruit. It is almost like the tree is as confused as I am sometimes.

And then, on the far side of the garden, I noticed the neighbor’s cat Marble perfectly camouflaged in a rose bush, intently eying some quail feeding on the ground. We locked eyes—she received the message.

The birds have provided a constant diversion, including the cheeky female quail that visits our feeder regularly and is now unimpressed by the pigeon that is twice her size.

The mallard couple are visiting the pool regularly—a mixed blessing for sure.

The crows are taking turns guarding their nest in the neighbor’s palm tree, no matter how awful the weather is. A wild squirrel, usually so skittish, came right up to me as we hiked the other day.

And there are many, many, many rabbits of all sizes around. 

Outside, there is a sense of rebirth, renewal, and expected change as spring arrives and life goes on, regardless.

In the garden, I can’t help but have hope that the day is surely coming when we will be able to breathe easy. Then we will stand in the sunshine, hold hands, and shout with joy. When that day comes, may we never forget about the time when we could not embrace, whisper into a friend’s ear, or sing praise as a congregation. It is tough now, but surely that day is coming soon …


Happy Easter to all of you!

2 thoughts on “Learning to Breathe

  1. Once again thank you Kathleen. Your heartfelt words always lift my spirit and fill me with joy for life and the world around us.

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  2. Thank you for that beautiful, hopeful reminder that things will get better. Thank God for Gardens and creatures that don’t toil or spin but rest as they trust their creator.

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