The Garden

In the garden. Late afternoon sun. Shoveling, raking, leveling dirt until my hands blistered. While my stepdad staked the fence. He pointed to the poison ivy I can never seem to identify. He persisted with staking despite all the rock ledge, found the soft earth. And we laughed about a politician, you know the one. He wrapped the wire fence, joining it to each stake, but I never once looked up from shoveling to see how he’d done it. The sun sank into shade. And my mom put on her garden gloves and plotted out the plants and I dug with my daughter’s yellow plastic shovel because I couldn’t find the spade, which isn’t a spade but a trowel. And the spade made me think of A Tree for Peter. Then the trowel was found. And my mom and I planted tomatoes and eggplant and peppers and herbs, and my stepdad quietly persisted with the fence. Until he was finished and sat on a rock to rest. And I didn’t think to get him water. We were digging and patting down dirt. My mom in her straw hat, kneeling at the garden bed, separating the basil, saying, remember we come from pioneers, we have pioneer blood. I had underestimated all the work, but they knew exactly what they were getting into, happily, without complaint. I tromped around in my bare feet, hauling dirt and water, holding the afternoon like a smooth stone, the kind you pocket and find a special place for so you can come back to it again and again, turn it over, catch each fleck in the light.

(Post 149 of 365)

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5 thoughts on “The Garden”

  1. So very beautiful Sarah. A piece to hold like a smooth stone in my pocket. For some reason lately I’ve gotten into a near-obsession with the bittersweetness of children growing up and I love coming to your blog and feeling how very, very present you are in every moment.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The funny thing is, I’ve felt so distracted this week. I was searching for ways to ground myself and be present, but the moments were few and fleeting. I was even distracted while running, checking my phone. Tackling the garden was the concentrated physical labor and fresh air that finally re-rooted me.

      I completely relate to the bittersweetness of children growing up as I watch the daily transformations and increased autonomy. I have an almost hyper-consciousness of time passing and a desire to stand still within moments. It is a deep joy to see Isabella with my parents and stepparents, everyone healthy and vibrant, but of course, all of us aging. I want to stretch out this summer, experience it in molasses-slow time, the way it felt when we were kids.

      Like

  2. “And my mom put on her garden gloves and plotted out the plants and I dug with my daughter’s yellow plastic shovel because I couldn’t find the spade, which isn’t a spade but a trowel.” This is the best sentence I’ve read all day. I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

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