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Yet another tiny volunteer is taking over the yard in the winter absence of grass. Surely we can agree this purple orchid-like flower is better than grass. So much more interesting and beautiful!

You can probably tell I am just itching for spring, buzzing around looking for flowers with bee-like determination. There aren’t many out yet, but all the signs are there that the universe will not disappoint, but will soon put on another outrageous spring display.

We can reasonably count on the arrival of spring, even though each spring is different. Other things are not promised, like the health of those we love, the kindness of strangers, and it not raining on our new shoes. If you were to start writing a list of things on which you cannot rely, you could write all day and into the night and still not be close to finished.

All this uncertainty can be hard to bear. We feel safer when we know what is going to happen and exposed when we do not.

Imagine, though if you could know everything in advance. Would you want to? When I imagine this things seem flat and uninteresting. Vibrancy and joy in life come out of the uncertainty, not just anxiety.

In any event it’s not like we have a choice in the matter. There is a lot going on where we don’t have a clue how the situation will work out. Even when we think we know, we are often wrong.

One year we were preparing for a hurricane to make landfall near us. I moved all the loose items in every room into a closet, so they would not become projectiles if the windows broke and strong winds came through the house. While I was at it, I organized my closet, each pair of shoes neatly pointing west. When I was done I offered to help my neighbor, who still had outdoor furniture on her patio. “I’m not moving it,” she told me. “You either overprepare or underprepare for a hurricane. I am going to underprepare.”

I was horrified at her lack of preparedness. Wind could throw her lawn furniture through a window. “What are you going to do to get ready?” I asked.

“I’m going to bake a cake,” she said. “If the power goes out we’ll have to eat the ice cream in the freezer, so I want to be sure we have cake to go with it.”

After the storm made landfall and passed overhead, she climbed the fence between our yards, bringing her cake. We ate cake and ice cream in our oddly bare house.

I can draw only one of two conclusions from this. Perhaps pointing my shoes to the west steered the hurricane winds to another area, but I highly doubt it. The other possibility is that it is ok not to know how things will work out. Today refrain from frantic behavior trying to control the uncontrollable. Like my wise neighbor allow yourself to come to peace with not knowing.

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