As sure as the setting sun,
my work is not done.
Not in this garden.
Not in anything I’ve set out to do.

Life is not as predictable as the chickens
reluctantly making their way to the coop,
finished with their day’s work:
eating bugs, making fertilizer, laying eggs,
and entertaining me.

But my work is never done,
so let it go for now,
and be still.
Sit here on the green bench
in the middle of the labyrinth,
and watch the day end in languid layers,

the evening light slipping off my collection of pretty rocks,
spread out like treasure on the table.
Bits of mica and quartz catching a glimmer,
enticing me to move my fingertips along their surfaces
worn from millennium of being touched
by lives that no one remembers,
except perhaps some stone memory held in their crevices,
of ancient creatures that watched
this same sun I’m watching now
sinking beyond the labyrinth,
beyond the black pots along the fence
all seeded with fava beans, coriander, snap beans and anticipation.
beyond my winter garden of broccoli and beet seedlings,
lettuce seeds nestled beneath old plastic lemonade jugs.
kale taller than the chickens can reach,
beheaded amaranth,
tender, salty chard,
stubborn spinach seeds,
and a few stalwart remnants of summer’s eggplants and peppers
still bearing in this balmy October.

Be still,
and watch the light leave a long shadow
stretching from the vine-bedecked cinder-block wall
that separates my garden from canyon coyotes,
howling like lusty teenagers in the cactus and sage.

Be still,
and watch the last bit of light slide
from the Italian domes of the University,
briefly glistening golden on a sliver of the Bay,
pausing to sulk on the Pacific,
while dusty rose wisps of clouds
darken and dissolve to gray.

Be still.
Ah, but just enough light remains to taunt me,
revealing that the black pots are not perfectly aligned.
I could just get up and adjust them.
I cannot make this garden perfect.
I cannot fix everything.
I cannot fix anything else tonight.
It is time to be still,
to listen to the stillness,

ignore the shuck-shuck shuck of a helicopter circling the canyon,
– do not wonder what they are looking for.

ignore the neighbor’s friend summoning him
with a long blast of his car horn,
– do not wonder where they are heading.

ignore even the sudden ferrrr of a humming bird
hovering for one last sip from the bird bath.

Listen for the sound of stillness
do not notice that the plump Monarch caterpillar
that was munching on the milkweed yesterday,
is gone.
– do not wonder where it choose to set its chrysalis
– do not wonder if perhaps a crow made a meal of him.
I can only plant the milkweed.
I cannot save every caterpillar.
The Monarchs might all disappear.
I cannot fix everything.
Let it go…
and be still.