Thursday, July 14, 2011

the one thing about the gardens we grew.

Planting gardens was on my short list of things to do in this quiet town. I arrived in the winter, eager to till the small plot of land. It's been years since I've had property to grow anything worth tending. Once the earth thawed and the last frost seemed to melt away, we weeded, broke-up, planted, seeded, fertilized, and then settled in for the wait.

It was the perfect thing for us while we rested, recouped. In this short season, we not only bought the whole field for a pearl, but we broke up some earth for our quiet hours.

Brown ground, still raw from a long winter.
Our hands, dirt-stained.

I leaned over, knees digging in soil, and watched the sprouts. Tended them. Protected them. Dug my nails and trowels into deep roots of weeds. Weeds that grew faster than the tender shoots breaking green.

I marked the brown with stones and memory.

Morning Glories.

We cheered when the transplants took to the ground; got frustrated when some seeds never came to surface.

When pulling weeds, my little M asked why.

And I explained that weeds steal life from the real growth that we want. They choke, absorb, shadow, sprawl and without our care, take over. The real, good stuff goes long and forgotten; dead and struggling beneath their bullying weight.

She nodded as though she understood (she may have a bit), and she asked again for more baby carrots and "queenie".

It's mid-July and I can stand on my porch and see the color. We're craving the fruit of our (small) labor.

But there's so much more to gather. To watch unfold. To yet bud and give color, wrap around posts, drop rich with ripe skin.

All of which I will miss. Back to streets and cement. Leaving my garden in my father's care. My dad says, "I'll pick the zucchini. I'll water the morning glories. I'll check on the eggplant."

It won't be mine anymore, but he'll let me be a part of it.

Someone else will enjoy the reward while I move forward, on to cultivate different kinds of soil, seeds, tender shoots. It's something I didn't realize I would miss so much. Maybe even cry about.

It all might sound like an allegory, but I promise you, it's not.


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