By Trudy Wischemann
It’s been a rough couple of weeks in Lake Woebehere, my adopted home town. It started with another break-in and robbery of my home at the corner of Homassel and Alameda, the one with the weedy yard. I’d been trying to keep my attention on demolishing the weeds, but then I was diverted to weeding through what the thieves had left behind in order to determine all that had been taken. A couple of days later the weed seeds popped front and back, and I had a flea outbreak inside the house, making it a triple whammy.
I’m going to spare you the description of my daily activities and how I’m coping. What’s more of interest are the discoveries I’m making as I wend my way through the weeks. One of the most amazing aspects of my excavations has been the consistency of my often-aborted efforts, which I’ve uncovered while sorting through piles. I don’t finish much, but I start over again and again regularly, with the same purpose in mind: finding ways to advocate for and conserve some of the base-line rural values we live with, which people in our urban centers have left behind, contributing to our country’s decline.
I got to preach on the subject “Left Behind” at Exeter United Methodist Church Sunday. The scripture was the “Doubting Thomas” story in the book of John, but I got hooked on the image of the 11 remaining disciples (after Judas hanged himself) huddled in fear in a locked room. I could identify with them feeling left behind, after the hosannas of Palm Sunday turned to the horror of Bad Friday. Even the empty tomb was a mystery until Jesus reappeared to them in his altered state. What next?
Writing this sermon on confusion got hung up on the confusion I was going through myself. Saturday morning I found myself at the kitchen sink, spending an hour washing up the hummingbird feeder I’d abandoned filthy dirty in the utility tub, every orifice clogged with black gunk. A poem came out of that effort, and the sermon followed shortly after. Here’s the poem:
Thunderclouds forming behind Lindsay Peak
at noon, late April heat we don’t expect
till May, I circulate through the house
closing windows, no cool air to draw in
until nightfall. The day
is half-lost to cleaning
the hummingbird feeder
and half-reclaimed by the same act,
my sermon for Sunday still
gathering itself in words and phrases,
little darts and valentines bundling
for delivery. “No one else
would spend this morning bent over
the sink, scrubbing away last year’s scum,”
I tell myself, envisioning bright red and yellow
plastic parts destined for the garbage can
otherwise. But I know that’s a lie
we too often tell ourselves, and in the hope
of finding kindred spirits in the congregation,
I finish the job then sit down
My message Sunday was this: though these values we live with here, like preserving what’s still good even if it’s old, sometimes make us feel left behind, they’re the values we need for a better, more sustainable future. We should cherish them, and ourselves for keeping them, and then go out into the world, like the trembling 11 did, and make disciples.
Sunday I found those kindred spirits I hungered for Saturday. It will be a quieter, more peaceful week in Lake Woebehere now.
Trudy Wischemann is a neglectful homemaker who writes. You can send her your thoughts on rural values and cleaning c/o P.O. Box 1374, Lindsay CA 93247 or visit www.trudysnotesfromhome.blogspot.com and leave a comment there.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.