I went into the garden tonight. I went with the intention of doing those things I’ve been telling myself I need to do–pull the zinnias, squash, and tomatoes; try my best with the weeds, prepare a bed for garlic. But instead, I couldn’t help but just sit there and love it. The work can wait, I guess. It’s waited this long.
All summer, I’ve been lamenting the groundhogs. I’ve been lamenting my own busy schedule that prevents me from weeding around the neat rows I optimistically planted in May. I’ve been telling stories of the deer who ate every single last tomato.
But tonight, the garden and I talked about the good things we’ve seen together this year. Zinnias, blooming from May until last week in every color. Tomatillos, garlic, and herbs that made it into pestos and liquors and everything else. Kale that still refuses to bow to the groundhog. Marigolds that perfumed the entire yard.
Two girls who got bigger, stronger, more stubborn, and more adventurous. Parties, drinks, rainstorms, new neighborhood dogs tromping through and peeing where they like. And a cat, our cat, who went from one who sometimes sneaks outside to one who spends his days lounging in the sun. He lives in that garden, and he’s never so happy as when we’re out there with him. I think he just enjoys watching it all grow.
Back in April, our friends came, and we dug the new bed. It rained that day, just enough to keep the ground soft. We talked about that too, the garden and I.
Nights after bedtime when Joey pulled me outside even though I said “I’m busy! Tired! In the middle of something!” But he’d take my hand anyway, and then we’d sit and have a beer and listen to the peepers. Watch the fireflies.
Sadie in her first badminton game. Daily tromps through the garden and past the yard to the river, bathing suited. No towel even, because who needs it when you just have to walk back up the hill in the heat. That’s nature’s towel.
The walk into the garden in the dark moonlessness, when my friend Andrew and I went in search of oregano for a late night pot of tomato sauce. We picked leaves from every plant in the bed closest to the house, smelling the oil on our fingers to see if we’d found the right one.
Sparklers on 4th of July. Coffee on the porch in the morning. Picnics, cookies on the lawn, popsicles, and the snow of elderflowers stuck in our hair. And the night that our friends came and we ate blueberry pie as it got dark, then spread wool blankets out by the garden so we could all lie down and see only the expanse of sky. And each time a meteor would flare and burst and then disappear again, one of us would say, “Ah! There’s another!” But then that one would be gone by the time the words were out, only to be replaced by another in a different piece of sky.