Saturday, June 23, 2007


When the frost finally lifted this spring, I spent every early morning in May digging in the earth, while my children and the sun rose lazily to begin the day without me. My knees were forever blackened by the damp topsoil and my dry hands glazed with compost gave me the badge of "gardening woman" for all to see.
I planted flower seeds with names I couldn't pronounce. I relocated plants I didn't recognize. I let moist little worms curl around my pink gloved fingers, and then gently placed them aside to continue their earth-tilling work. I cut and tied and trimmed and watered and worried.
And now, all of this careful work is no longer mine to claim. The rain and sun urge the flowers to unroll from their tight little bundles at the ends of sticky stems. The vines climb without my help or constant guidance. And every early morning that I cross the damp grass to survey this earth-work, I am newly surprised at what has grown and what has whithered away.
Frankly, I am vaguely frightened by the results of my work. I look at this garden of my design that has grown beyond my control - up and over fences, out of borders, under chairs... and feel a tightening in my chest that results from the lack of control. I know that the seeds that I carefully placed into the earth have an earth-energy that is not mine to give, only to take away.
And now, I watch from a distance as my youngest child does just that - she tenderly cradles the newly sprung poppy in her soft, pink fingers. She gently pulls the bloom to her face to smell it's tempting goodness. Satisfied that this is the one, she tightens her grip and heartlessly yanks the purple bloom from the earth, severing the stem and roots.
I smile, and sigh a small sigh of relief.

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