Sunday, May 8, 2016

Planting Happiness

Yesterday I worked in my garden, pulling weeds and trimming back plants that have become unruly from all the rain we've had. Everything has run wild with luxurious new growth, roses and clematis clambering up trellises and cone flowers springing up in every unoccupied inch of space. I like my garden to be a little shaggy around the edges, for my roses to be a little neglected looking, though in truth that look of neglect has taken years of careful cultivation. 

My Mom is never far from my mind at any given moment, but when I'm in the garden she is always more present to me. I think of her when I pull weeds, when I prune shrubs, when I tie back the leggy branches of my climbing roses. I think of her when I rake seeds into the dirt, succession sowing zinnias and cosmos and poppies so that I can squeeze as much color from the season as possible. I remember all the long days she and I spent together, mornings already humid and the earth exhaling the hot damp scent of summer as we pulled weeds and planted flowers side-by-side. 

I feel sometimes as though I'm planting happiness. On days when I miss her the most, when I wish I could call her and ask for advice, or when it just hits me that she's well and truly gone, I go out to the garden. I plant seeds. I tend my flowers. I pull weeds and imagine that every root that pops out of the soil is a bit of grief being pulled from my heart. I remember her in her garden in her blue skirt, the sun vivid on her as she handed me a shovel or a pair of pruning shears (the same ones I use in my garden now). The garden is my way of paying tribute to her. Of continuing to love her. It's a way to keep her close as I'm crouched in the dirt on humid mornings, smelling that summer earth as I plant my flowers and pull weeds, alone.