When we first moved into our house, I thought my thumb would green up pretty quickly. (I never had much luck with houseplants in the apartment. But -- a yard! I would do better.) I imagined a bountiful garden and beautiful landscaping.
But I was pregnant that first summer. I fell asleep in the sun while the girls ran circles around me.
And the second summer, my crawling baby wanted to eat every stick and green thing she alighted upon. And she slept like shit. Hanging a load of laundry was about the only thing on my outside chore list that year.
So here we are, three summers later, and the yard is still full of dandelions. The vegetable garden is a lot of fenced-in nothing. And the spaces where I hoped to splash color are unchecked tangles of whatever wanted to take root.
It's a little sad.
But I didn't have much luck with the few tomatoes we put in the last two years, and I'm not very inspired to figure out why. And honestly, I have a hard time investing money in plants that the chipmunks might chew. Or that might mystify me with sunlight and soil requirements.
This year, I'm sleeping better. But I still don't feel like gardening.
A few months ago, I decided to quit this corner of the internet that I'd been cultivating. Everything that was coming up had started to look the same to me. So I wrote the last of it and thought I would tuck into my notebook and scribble secrets that would swell into something more significant.
The break felt good. At first.
It was freeing to live sacred moments and ignore the urge to set them to music. To feel everything but remain right-side-out -- rather than laying myself out there: exposed, unwrapped, guts hanging out.
But the months went by and I picked up my pen only a few times. Made only a few scribbles. And felt myself disappearing around the edges.
Last week, I picked up the dandelion plucker and popped a few by the roots. Soon I had a huge pile of weeds and the yard looked only a little different. But there was something satisfying about the way the stems sounded when they broke free.
I've been sizing up the gigantic hostas along the house. The jungle of ferns that have self-spread around the shed and along the fence. Perhaps its time to divide them? Fill in some empty spaces with plants we already have?
Last weekend, the girls begged to plant something. So we put in a row of peas. A patch of zinnias. I'm not sure if they will come up, but they are watching with expectant eyes. I am too.
And maybe that's enough out there, in here. Pulling things out, breaking things down.
And watching. Especially the watching.
It doesn't particularly matter what -- if anything -- comes up. When there's dirt under my nails, I can see my edges.