Monday, May 20, 2013

Tend your garden

On Mother's Day we planted our garden. It's all I want and it's become tradition. It's not the activity of choice for any other person but they humor me because they have to do so and we traipse to the garden center and get pepper plants and eggplant plants and tomato plants and pretty flowers and flashy annuals and fragrant herbs in 4" pots and we get home and it's a dirt frenzy, all peat and trowels and watering cans and bare feet. It's the herald of real spring, Official spring, and then the house is garlanded in jewels and I can begin my annual tradition of the Shaking of the Fist at the black squirrel who eats my tomatoes. We might not be high-yield gardeners, but we're tenacious.

There are the in-ground plantings and the small pots on the back porch and the few pots at the bottom of the back porch steps and the large pot on the front porch and the new one I added on Mother's Day between the porch and the garage and suddenly the weather is warm, hot even.

Every night we come home, all a tumble out of two cars almost at once, purse and laptop bag and backpack, backpack, backpack, papers and art projects, permission slips and precious ephemera, pinecones and stickers and wilted dandelions, bent paper clips.

We fall over each other into the house, shoes in the hall and someone needs the bathroom, someone needs a drink, bags drop, projects unfold at the kitchen table, energy expands, unpacking all the buttoned-up proper hours for barefoot evening, belly laughs and belly rubs, shenanigans and some kid runs pantsless into the backyard, we're entropy and cacophony and those snakes that pop out a can, a shaken two-liter of seltzer, a perpetual motion toy bouncing every way at once.

Slowly the pieces settle, float down to the floor, and the walls sigh in relief. Another reentry and no new cracks. There will be dinner and there may be homework and there might be baths and knotty hair and missing favorite books or pajamas. There will be the needs of night's routine. But first there is a space, cumulus, where everyone is anywhere and I can slip out.

The faucet sprays my toes. I fill the watering can and I circumnavigate the house: the container on the porch and the one by the garage and the new roses on the side; the herbs and the sunflowers, the containers on the back steps, and the tomatoes and their friends. It's five minutes, quiet and rhythmic, spreading water where it's needed, nurturing the thirsty plants, and then I walk back in and ask who's hungry.



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