Just when I think things are smoothing out and we are actually on our way to “Beginners Heaven,” one of us makes a mistake and there we are again, guilty and ashamed, just like the old feelings from childhood. They are like deep fractal patterns that recur under present circumstances. So, here is the latest story of this fractal wave. It is sort of a tsunami in miniature right here in Elm Grove, our beautiful little neighborhood.
Last night, it being our day to water, we were going out to dinner. To save the time that it would have taken to get out the hose and hand water the vine we are growing to shade our dining room window, Paul made a hasty decision to use the sprinkler head where the vine was located and give it a five minute drink so we could get on our way to our dinner date.
As happens with 80 year olds, he touched the wrong button and instead of watering from one station for five minutes, one of the front cycles kicked in and we watered that part of the front lawn, illegally. Now lawn watering is a good thing when you are not in severe drought conditions and when you don’t have a ban on use of irrigation systems.
Soooo, you can imagine our dismay when on returning from a lovely dinner at Nonna Gina’s with our son, Ed, we saw that the whole front sprinkler cycle has engaged and, sure enough, we had broken the law. We had watered against the rules.
Our chagrin was deep and wide as the Red Sea. It became deeper and wider when the neighbors began to talk about it on the internet. Wow! I felt like a child again with my Daddy grabbing his belt or his razor strop to give me a sound whipping. I was so deeply ashamed and guilt ridden, I lay awake a long time trying to decide how to make amends.
There is nothing one can do after the fact. This is like trying to retrieve words after they have been spoken in anger. Much like gathering up the feathers from a pillow that broke during a pillow fight, it is very hard to do.
So, what is the message? What is the lesson? At this point, hard to tell. I will do my best to apologize to the irate neighbors, but I confess it is a little hard to face their condemnation with unconditional love. I guess that is the lesson. Do good to those who hurt you. Turn the other cheek, etc. I certainly can empathize with their feelings, for I know how I react when someone does something they really shouldn’t do. Still, I cannot turn back the clock and not make the mistake. So, it is what it is. Here. Now.
The message is, obviously, we will be getting the hose out or the watering can, as we have done faithfully during this drought and even before. We believe in conservation and sustainability of all resources. And, we live in the way that we can best interpret being good neighbors, good friends, and good people. That will not stop and we do learn from our mistakes.
Families are the place we learn forgiveness. Neighborhoods are like family. They are also the laboratory for learning how to love. As my grandfather said often after a family fight, “Nuph Sed!” “On We Go!”