I arrived yesterday morning at my day job in Woodstock, Illinois to find my basement office in a 114 year-old house flooded with two inches of water from the heavy thunderstorms that moved through the area last night. Those came a day after another round of violent storms, which included a funnel cloud which dipped from the sky around 2 am Monday morning directly over my head as I worked by week-end overnight shift at a gas station/convenience store at the corner of Route 176 and Route 14 in Crystal Lake.
But despite the mess which will take a couple of days to get moderately dried out and which will leave me fighting mold and mildew in the sodden carpets with fans and a dehumidifier running overtime, my mood could not be soured.
You see, I got off my Pace Bus on a pristinely beautiful sun drench morning right in front of the display of day lilies and other flowers on the corner lot of a stately old Victorian home with an inviting wrap-around porch. The house and yard are right across the street from the old Congregational Unitarian Church building—my religious home for more than 20 years. That fine old building is now the Blue Lotus Buddhist Temple and a large, golden Buddha now squats atop the old monument sign at the corner, his beneficent gaze seeming to take in the beauty across the street. In fact the day lilies nearly match his robes.
The spectacular garden has been lifting my mid-summer spirits ever since I began my commute to this day job just two short blocks away back in 2006. Of course I had noticed them for years before, but the daily, up-close splendor as I stepped from my bus has become a welcome annual spiritual experience—and one which can, in good weather, last a month or so even when the weather turns blistering hot and oppressive.
Back in 2008 those day lilies inspired this short poem which first appeared in the relatively early days of this Blog when it was on LiveJournal and read by as many people as could be crowded into Volkswagen Bug. Chances are you didn’t see it then, or even when I reposted it in 2010.
Please share my joy today.
The day lilies—
you know the ones,
crowding corner patch
across from the Church,
leaning into the morning sun,
orange maws wide,
insisting on that next fat worm.