Monday, May 6, 2013


Six years ago I was getting ready for this little being I didn't yet know as Henry to be born. I knew there was a small hole in his heart, and yet I wasn't freaking out. Otherwise, all was well. I felt great. The house was chaotic as Brian tried to finish up the painting projects we had begun before I got pregnant, but the glider was up in his room, a few clothes were washed and ready.

I was busy digging in my garden, trying to get things planted. I didn't expect to have much time to work in the garden, but lettuce and tomatoes would do their own thing if I could get them in. I think of this in flashes, remembering squatting, moving around my belly as I worked. I remember my simple expectation as I get my garden ready this year. And here's the thing: I still believe.

I still believe that my work will pay off even though unforeseen circumstances could pull me away from home come July or August or September as the bounty really begins to flow; we could get late blight on the tomatoes again this year or drought could shrivel up my plants or a late freeze could kill them before they begin to thrive. Squirrels will undoubtedly get the peaches from Henry's tree long before they are ripe. I don't think about what could go wrong when I'm out there digging and moving compost and spreading ash. I don't worry the what ifs while I sprinkle seeds or wield the hose while Kathleen flaps about the yard with the rhododendron branches I pruned recently. I dream. I look at where I might shift and expand. I try to figure out where to put a new strawberry patch next year and where to finally start asparagus. I contemplate fruit trees and blueberry bushes and how they fit in with dog runs and clothes lines and open space for play.

I see the magic in the rhubarb that is already humongous and the chives that greened up before anything else and the cilantro that seeded itself for me and is ready to use now. I see the wonder as little bits of green poke up where weeks, days I ago I planted seed. I, who am usually so linear and organized and planful, can't seem to finish prepping a particular section because there is so much work to be done and I see so much potential. I have new energy. It's been growing in me, and maybe I've talked about it before. I am refilling after the complete and utter wring out of early grief. I am refilling after the needs of the early days of mothering my girls. I am refilling by claiming a little time and space for me to run and write and dig in the dirt.

I am not thinking ahead to the rest of May, to Mother's Day and Henry's birthday, except to think about what I will get for his garden this year. His birthday isn't easy, even separated from the day he died by several months, but somehow, part of what I relive right now is the anticipation, of him and a garden of vegetables, this time of joyful waiting and wonder.


  1. Magic in the rhubarb, for sure. This crazy cycle of life that just persists. Glad to hear the hopefulness in your writing. You are an inspiration.


    1. Mary Beth, I'm glad to be hopeful. I remember springs of knowing it was a time of hope but not really feeling. Good to be living that hope again.

  2. The way your write about how gardening ties the past to the present to the future is somehow just perfect. I keep reading these words and thinking about how this is why we love Spring - it's such a season of expectation and belief. I hope the new energy continues to flow.

    And you've inspired me to plant more seeds and to take a co-worker up on her offer of tomato plants. It may be a bit late, but I think they'll do okay anyway.

    1. Thanks, Erica. Yes, yes, plant seeds! And if you have nothing else have tomatoes and basil. I don't know what your grow season is, but here you'd be right on track if not a little early for tomatoes.