After a while, you feel a little foolish putting things in the ground.
My ex-husband and I planted dozens of trees when we moved into our house in Wisconsin. I figured I’d be living there (with my husband) for the rest of my life. There was a lot of grass around the house, not a lot of privacy, and curtains hung from every window. The trees grew up and the curtains came down. Eventually, if someone really wanted to peek in the windows they would have to be in the driveway. I figured if they were in the driveway and I wasn’t fully dressed, I knew them and they would understand, or they were trying to sell me a religion and might think better of it, or they were lost. This pretty much covered all the possibilities except the UPS man – and I got to know Kevin pretty well.
But now I am living in Santa Fe in a little house with a 13-month lease and wondering what to do about the big pile of dirt in the front lawn. I’ve been wondering if I should order some seeds.
On Tuesday I went out to dinner with my old friend, Mary. I knew Mary before her husband passed away. Now she is a widow and I have been divorced for quite a few years. We are both dating men from different parts of the country and we got together, the four of us. Mary and I hadn’t known the gentlemen for long and, of course, they didn’t know each other. There we all were, bumbling through the awkwardness of introducing ourselves. My friend, Peter, broke the ice.
“So, Mary, how did you end up here today? Start at the beginning.”
Mary laughed. (Mary has a wonderful laugh.) She told us something about her life, concluding with her arrival at the restaurant, with a lot of hearty laughter interspersed. We each took a turn. We tried to summarize a half century of living over the restaurant table, tried to say enough so we could be known to each other but still finish before the entrees arrived. We skipped over decades and jobs and relationships. We glossed over hardships and heartbreaks. It was a fun evening and we all agreed we should do it again.
The next day, I got thinking about my seeds again. It seemed a bit rash, now that I thought about it. I knew those plants could not survive without water. Putting seeds in the ground seemed like a ridiculous commitment.
But then I thought about Peter and Mary’s new friend. I thought of the fun we had, starting from scratch. I thought of how hopeful and necessary it is to begin anew and see what happens. I thought of how sad it would be if I ever got to the point where I believed my time was too short to plant new seeds.
So I ordered seeds. I ordered squash seeds: far more than I need. I ordered sunflowers because they will tower over my stick fence and cheer my next-door neighbor, Lisette – and just because I figured, in New Mexico, a person needs sunflowers.
And I ordered morning glories (a pound of morning glory seeds!) to climb up and over my raggedly stick fence. Yes, I will need to water them. But when I open my door and look out on the little yard that used to be all mud, I will see vivid blue morning glories climbing up – looking for the sun.
And I think that will be a good thing.
Till next time,