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The pilgrimage – a story of sore feet, an aching back, and giddy joy. Part 2

The Mister built me a wagon over the winter to use in my gardening. When it was completed, he took me for a ride around the basement in it. I don’t think I’ve hooted and hollered that much since I was six, and he offered to repeat the experience down our avenue once the snow cleared.

I demurred.

BUT it’s been an absolute godsend for gardening! It was waiting for me by the picnic table early Monday morning, filled with tiles I’d picked up over the weekend. I tried hard not to look at the plethora of tiles still lying on the ground as I fetched a basin of water from the hose and a bit of soap, rolled up my sleeves, donned a pair of latex gloves, and dived in.

I mentioned in my previous post that the weather was supposed to turn mild over that week. It didn’t. It turned gorgeous! The constant whisper of leaves overhead, the morning coolness giving way to a gentle warmth, the peaceable rhythm of washing the tiles, stacking them in drying racks (something else The Mister made for me – that guy is SO handy!), dumping the dirty water in the composter (couldn’t bear to waste it by throwing it on the lawn) and starting all over again, all of this gentled me into a meditative state of mind. But a happy state of mind. An absurdly happy state of mind.

Which is generally when my inner grouch likes to put in an appearance.

“Whatcha smilin’ at?”

“Grouchy Pants! I was wondering when you’d show up. Where you been?”

“Same place as always, Princess, right behind your eyeballs.”

“What brings ya by?”

“I want to know why you’re smiling.”

“I’m not smiling.”

“No, you’re right. More like grinning. Idiotically.”

“Nice.”

“So why are ya?”

“I don’t know.”

“Yeah. That never works with me. I’m not leaving until I get an answer.”

“I have no business smiling,” I admitted.

“Grinning. Idiotically. And you’re right. Up to your elbows in filthy water swarming with who knows what kinds of germs, not to mention feral cat poop…”

I froze.

“Relax, Princess, the latex’ll save ya.”

I started scrubbing again.

“Your bunions are screaming, your back is begging for mercy, and there’s a stitch burning in your side that won’t quit no matter how you change your posture, you can only look forward to days more of this same nonsense ahead, and yet here you are. Grinning. Idiotically. What gives?”

I looked up for a moment and rested my elbows on the edge of the basin.

“Well, it’s like…everything is just so…you weren’t looking for it but…and then you think…”

“You know with your gift with words, ya ever consider becoming a writer?”

“Funny.”

“Just blurt it out, for cryin’ out loud.”

“Nah. I know what you’ll say.”

“No, you don’t. Come on.”

“OK. I’m in love.”

“Shut up!”

“I knew it!”

“You’re in love. With whom, may I ask?”

“Not with. Just in.”

“Huh?”

I scrubbed away thoughtfully.

“It’s this, all of this, the breeze in the trees…”

“The ache in your knees?”

“…the billowing of my clothes…”

“The bugs up your nose?”

“I know it doesn’t make sense, but joy is stealing into my heart, and I didn’t ask for it, and I don’t know why it’s here or how long it will last, and it’s burning brighter and deeper, and I couldn’t turn it off if I wanted to. And I don’t.”

GP was thoughtful for a moment.

“But you’re the Goth, the Dark Poet. I’ve seen you darken up kids’ nursery rhymes. And not just once.”

I laughed.

“Yeah, I got a few of those published. Ah! good times. But you’re right, I’ve always been more comfortable with the dark emotions. And it’s a wee bit disconcerting to be so helpless in the face of such elation.” I placed the last tile from the pile in the drying rack. “But all I want to do right now is find The Mister and hug the stuffing outta him.”

“He’ll like that.”

“I expect he will. So is that it? Any other bon mots for me?”

“Just one. I’m happy for you, Princess.”

“Thanks, GP. See you tomorrow?”

There was no reply.

TO BE CONTINUED

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