One of my best friends, Brooke, and her lovely Carlos came to my rescue today. Epiphany or no, I’m still dealing with a 2-year-old while sick and while he’s sick. Couple that with a husband having to work a lot of overtime and on the weekend, and you get a tired, stressed out mommy. I say that with a certain amount of shame because I know that there are so many people in this life — countless people! — who have things going on so much greater than what I’m experiencing. But nonetheless, Brooke decided I needed rescuing and I took her up on it after much hemming and hawing. She and Carlos and their male pit bull named Gracie came and picked up Eamonn and took him to, not one, but TWO parks and fed him popsicles and generally let him have the run of the land for a few hours while I did some luxurious things like eating a yogurt and banana in complete silence, took my antibiotic while actually getting to sit down, drinking half a cup of coffee all at one time and then lying down for a solid hour. It was amazing.
I say lying down and not “napping” because, well, I mentioned the half cup of coffee, right?
While I was lying down, not surprising to any of you, my mind tramped all over my garden plot and the second one I’m hoping to take.
The thing is, I can’t go to my plot or think about it without beginning to think in poetry. As Meg put it the other day, it is the Great Metaphor. Gardening, for whatever reason, is the thing that people use most to describe life: its trials, its successes, its length, its process. As a Christian I believe that God walked in a garden at the beginning of our time, using this place of growth and life and provision as the location He chose above all others to commune with Adam and Eve. And later, it then dawned on me, Jesus — God incarnate — chose a garden in which to pray. If my memory serves (it’s embarassing that I don’t know this more surely), a garden is where he also chose to be betrayed, and to hand himself over to the death he knew he must die.
Something else that strikes me is that I never “got” gardening until very close to my mom’s death. She would pull me constantly out into her yard to show me fruit on a Christmas cactus, encourage me to look at the detail inside a flower, show me new growth on her orchids, revel in the jagged-heart shape of begonia leaves. And I didn’t get it. I would go. I would give barely interested “Ohhs” and “Ahhs” over the things she saw and I was left completely flummoxed by her delight, her joy, the praise that just flowed out of her when she was surrounded by her plants. It got to the point where I would just say to her (few moms probably could so sweetly take the bluntness of their daughters as my mom did mine) with a helpless shrug of my shoulders, “Yeah, it’s pretty, Ma. But…” And then we would just laugh at each other — laugh at the distance between us that just couldn’t be helped.
Even as I started this venture into B10, my goal was “useful” plants, plants I could cook, plants I could eat and…well…MAYBE some nasturtium and wild flowers. I didn’t expect to be taken hold of. I didn’t expect to be drawn to this little plot of land with an ache. I didn’t expect to think about my life when I pull weeds, water new seedlings, build cages to keep out pests, work soil and amend it and do all the other things a garden requires. I expected to learn, sure, but not about myself. Not about my faith. Not about my mom.
This is the part where I cry because I’m doing a lot of that suddenly these past few days.
I regret not having known this joy before my mom passed away. But there is something about this that makes me not so sad: My mom saw the beginnings of the spark for me. As I’ve said before, these were some of our last mundane but utterly important and precious conversations. My mom knew, I think, where it would head for me. And really, how lovely a gift, that I am now getting to know and understand a new part of my mom even after she’s gone. How much more dearly do I hold these things than I would have had I begun to learn them before she was gone? There are so many things I know that I have taken for granted and this, blessedly, hopefully, is not one of them.
This is barely a cohesive post. I’m sorry. But now you know where my mind rambled while I didn’t take a nap and my son reveled in playing with Brooke and Carlos.