Jessica Ashley facebook twitter babble voices pinterest is a single mama in the city, super-savvy editor, writer, video host and shameless shoe whore.
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Looking for love: in the crazy heat

IMG_2104We take it for granted, that we will turn the crank and water will will spray forth, keeping the gardens outside our locked doors and sealed windows lush and tended. We never question that the water will be pooling in the wrapped-tight hose waiting for us to decide it is time.

But really, water is a far more precious commodity than we are willing to admit. We pay attention to melting glaciers carrying abandoned polar bear pups for a few minutes while a photo passes by our Facebook news feed, or click to donate a few dollars to an organization that digs wells that women and children walk miles and miles to for fresh water each day. But we let the faucets run longer than we should while we are brushing our teeth and roll our eyes with impatience when the dishwasher breaks and soak in hot tubs and pools for hours without wondering when the water falls will slow to a trickle.

Isn't it the same with love, most of the time? We need to believe it will always be there, at the ready for when we are ready.

In the middle of a frozen tundra of a winter, when we've just shoveled the walk for the third time in one week or pushed a car out of a foot of snow, we don't think, "Hey, I will sure will be grateful to water the grass when all this melts." When we are alone or leaving someone or standing on the precipice of an marriage that's ending, it is just as tricky to remind ourselves, "Weren't we lucky to have every resource we could possibly want during that one divine summer? Wasn't the water always pooling at our feet, always cooling us off, always making the space around us full of life?"

I saw this hose, heart-shaped and waiting in a neighbor's yard, during a day that hung with humidity. The air felt oppressive. The flowers looked beautiful from far off, but up close were browned at the edges and longing for a drink. Just beyond the frame of the photo, the grass was worn away in brown spots, charred by too many days in a row of record highs.

Where is the water? I wondered that, noting the sprinkler.  Don't the people know it's time for a shower?

But maybe the people were waiting, holding on to each precious drop, holding out for a break in the heat to tend to the peonies and shrubs and ground cover. Maybe they didn't want to waste any of it at all.

Or maybe the sprinkler stood still and silent and waterless out of neglect. Was someone ignoring the garden?

Could it be that the lawn had already been tended to and all signs of being watered were already evaporated? Maybe the soil underneath was saturated while the petals were turning away from the sun.

There are many possibilities for this little corner of the city, just as there are many for the tiny corners of our hearts. There is an ocean of love out there somewhere, but we have to be wise about how much we let spill from the bucket, how much we take it for granted, how much we expect of it when the world feels lazy and overwhelmed and parched. We have to appreciate it, the love, quenching our thirst and making beautiful things grow up and giving us bodies to sink into and float around and bathe in.

I love that little plastic heart sprinkler winding through the grass. It stands for so much more than it seems.

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