Smiling helps you approach the day with gentleness and understanding. — Thich Nhat Hanh
My morning routine
After my alarm goes off and I get my bathroom needs out of the way I always turn to my sink to wash my hands. Like in your bathroom, a mirror sits above my sink.
“Good morning sunshine,” is the greeting I give the girl in the mirror. And then I would give her my best smile to start us in the right frame of mind.
But this morning I have a lower back-ache and so the smile is forced. The girl in the mirror notices. She knows.
I make my way to the kitchen.
As I’m pouring water into my kettle I look out my window and see Hydie deep in conversation with her sisters. It’s raining but they don’t seem to mind; they’re happy, just the same.
I take the kettle to the stove, turn it on and I sit at my table to relieve pressure from my back. A genuine smile appears as I recall my conversation with Hydie as we enjoyed a most splendid day working together in the yard yesterday.
“Hello Hydie,” I had said to my purple hydrangeas, “You’re looking good. I’m counting on you to brighten the long, rainy days before summer sets in.”
Hydie ruffled her green dress and curtsied her reply. Her pink sisters did the same when I glanced over and smiled at them. Susie, Sagie, and Sally — christened names I’ve given to my Black-eyed Susans, Sage and my Saru-suberi plants — dusted their skirts but didn’t show me their faces. They’re still too shy.
note: The ‘saru-suberi’ which means the Monkey’s Slide is the Japanese name for the Crape Myrtle tree and is so-called because the bark of the tree is very smooth and must make a great slide for any monkey! That’s Sally in my yard.
And then I started weeding; first around Hydie who needed it the most. She sang as I got her cleaned.
I don’t like weeds and neither do I enjoy weeding, but it’s a must if I’m to expect my plants to thrive. You should have seen me, yesterday I filled two large bags with noxious weeds.
But as I uprooted weed after weed I noticed a family of worried dandelions staring back at me. The twins, Donny and Dulcinea, were ready to cry. Their parents, with their long and lanky pointed leaves, patted them on the head, soothing them.
note: hey, did you know that dandelion leaves are good in salads? Oh, you know. Silly me!
Anyway, I looked at the dandelions, ruffled the children’s curls lightly and moved on over to the west side of my yard, the mountain side that’s home to their ancestors.
A decade back Chuckie, our rabbit, called this side of the yard home. Chuckie loved his greens. My little boys and their daddy spent many afternoons blowing dandelions toward the wayward side of the mountain — away from mommy’s flowers, all so that Chuckie could eat greens to his heart’s content. That’s why even now, this side of the yard is full of dandelions.
I set to weeding around the dandelions, careful not to disturb Donny and Dulcinea’s grandparents, who were fast asleep.
“You’ll look pretty in the summer sun — again,” I whispered, and felt good for it.
My kettle whistles and I get up to turn it off.
As I steep my tea bag in my cup I’m reminded of something Thich Nhat Hanh loved talking about.
— The source of a true smile is an awakened mind.
— If you have lost your smile and yet are still capable of seeing that a dandelion is keeping it for you, the situation is not bad. You still have enough mindfulness that the smile is there.
I take a sip from my cup as I listen to the sound of the rain. The dandelion is keeping my smile.
Who’s holding yours?
A LITTLE FANCIFUL STORY TO HELP BRIGHTEN YOUR DAY. I WROTE IT A FEW WEEKS AGO DURING THE RAINY SEASON… PLEASE GIVE IT A FEW CLAPS SO IT CAN MOVE ON TO BRIGHTEN SOMEONE ELSE’S DAY AS WELL. I THANK YOU.
I Wish You Miracles, Selma.