she’s back, and so’s the rest of the story. now there’s a comfort plot.

by bam

hours on end, and well past nightfall, these past few days and eves, i’ve been digging in the dirt. the straight-up way, dirt to skin, the way it oughta be. the way of purists, and desperadoes.

count me among the latter.

ripped off the gloves, i did. sunk my fingers deep. as if clinging to the ledge, come to think of it.

even landed me some worms, a good three or four or five, over the course of my dawn-till-dark, bare-skinned diggin’.

hoisted up those worms, dangled them right before my eyes. tried to stare ’em down, see who’d blink first, the worm or me. but, dang, i never did make out where the worm face was exactly. so i simply transported the little fellows on to browner pastures.

they are worms after all.

and, of late, i’ve been feeling wholly sympathetic to the plight of each and every creepy crawly thing.

and i’ve been more than grateful to all that dwells within my garden’s mounds, the things with legs, or simply gangly roots.

it’s been–as the garden always, always is–my last-ditch, sure-thing salvation.

or at least the place that lets me unknot the kinks inside my soul. and the lumps stuffed down my throat. and the raw parts, wherever they are.

as i find myself being pried away from this holy plot that’s mine, this humble chunk of real estate that somewhere bears my name scritch-scratched on a hundred thousand documents (or so it seemed at that signing long ago), i find myself, more than usual, being called to knead through the tsuris the dirty way. the way that demands a shovel and a trowel. and knees so caked with mud they might never come clean again.

the blessed thing i’ve noted this time around, the lesson worth hauling in the house, is that, while all the world around me seems shaken, seems not the same anymore, the garden picks up where it left off.

it is in many ways a narrative ever spiraling, a plot that comes again and again. at once changed but constant.

like a great good book, one you pick up again and again, knowing just the spot on the page where your heart will race, and then the tears will come. because every time you read it, the words are just the same. only the way you read those words–the power and the message–shifts, falls in and out of shadow, spills suddenly into dappled light.

fact is, i find it wholly reassuring that everywhere i step–beneath the pines, in my squishy sodden some-day meadow, just beyond my star magnolia–i find evidence of what has been, returned again.

as if the whole experiment in birth and death and resurrection is headlined with this promise: “to be continued…”

the truth, of course, of any well-loved garden is that its cycle never ends, doesn’t flag. might wilt. might collapse in august heat. but come the spring, come april’s hope, there it bursts in may, the sweet reward for nothing less than not tossing in the trowel.

why, just beyond my kitchen window, the spicy viburnum, the one that makes me swoon at the turn of every april into may, it’s back again, replaying its intoxicating theme, reminding me of the elixir named anticipation.

and right where i planted them, and where i watched them turn to brown and look for all the world like shriveled death, there come the tips of ferns. and then the fronds, furled tight, like newborn’s fists, not yet splayed, reaching out beyond the womb.

no wonder not even hunger calls me in.

i cannot stop, cannot be sated in my quest to take it in.

everywhere i look, there’s proof: faith pays off. believing is a virtue.

why the bleeding heart, dug up and moved in the heat of july, it’s forgiving me. it’s shaken its summer shock. burst forth in tender profusion. all’s well that blooms in my garden.

how is it that the earth remembers? how is it that it gives and gives again?

who deserves such generosity?

i don’t know those answers, but i do know this: we’ve embarked, my garden and me, on a holy blessed journey. i tend with all my heart. i make mistakes galore. but in the spring, it soothes me. it sticks its neck out here and there and everywhere.

it asks little.

rewards abundantly.

teaches plenty.

so i’ve made a vow. i’ll be there for my garden as often as i can be. i’ll miss it when i’m gone. and i’ll always hurry back.

my garden’s the thing that’s saving me right now.

and i intend to pay it back in rapt attention to its glories.

forgive me, as my garden does. the day’s been long again, and the hour’s late. i might need to shift just one more blessed thing in this the latest chapter of my life: my wednesday meanderings might become my friday meanderings.

i think perhaps the chance to meander on my own slow time might be a finer thing. this downtown-first-thing on wednesdays demands one of two things: getting up at 4 to meander. or typing fast as i can in between making dinner, shuffling little legs to bed, and keeping my own eyeballs from falling closed.
i’m not one to shift my rhythms without a moan and groan. but seems the wiser thing to do, to unloose these hours, and make the end of week a holy place and time. stay tuned to see what next week brings…

so here’s my question: what does your garden whisper to you, when you tiptoe by? if not your garden, then what otherworldly living things call out to you, teach you sacred lessons?