One bed. Of the three, just one. That was my task – to weed that one bed. I started with the easiest – a third full of gourds just now going green, climbing the fence, threatening to make it to the chicken coop by the time their stems dry in September’s last warm days.
Weed this one bed.
So I started – pulling the biggest pieces, the long stems of red with bright green leaves, Christmas plants but without sparkle or thorns – among the gourds.
Then, I took to the watermelon, spotting the three inches of one perfect, tiny. Grass tugged out. Then to the scape that was spaghetti squash, mostly gone to rotten before it was ripe. Here, I need a hoe.
I tap hard on the tool shed door. Here, we have learned that our buddies the black snakes like doored spaces.
I swing the hoe hard, chopping out squash vines and crab grass. My arms ache.
The mailman drops off a package, and we wave. Meander gives three steps of chase and then sits. I keep hoeing.
I work around the cucumbers, hoping the last few tiny fingers of prickle will come to fatness. Then, chuck out the last of the yellow squash and almost pull the zucchini . . . until I see that one bloom nearly open. I tug out the Christmas plants from around it instead.
One bed weeded. The day’s garden task done.
1,000 words. I pounded them out there. Images coming forth quick and hot. I got stuck, took another tack, a memory, an image that came to mind. Friends past. Tiny bits of conversation unearthed.
Hot, messy, not anywhere near done. But there. Ready to be worked again. I do not know what I will find when I come back to that page. I don’t reread as I draft, so it may be drivel – rotten stems and crab grass. Or it may surprise me with color, a line buried in the mess. The one I start from today.
Later, when P and I have begun clearing the hill above the farmhouse, have spent minutes gazing at what will be our driveway for the lodge, I wander back to the shed – tap, tap – to get our cultivator, the perfect tool for pulling cut briars off the mountain.
As I walk past the bed, I see a stem of multi-floral rose popping up undisturbed from the expanse of the former squash territory. I grab it and pull up . . . spraying the soil with neon pink, yellow, and green . . . a package of bendy straws long buried, brought to this land from the barn site, which itself had been a dump.
They come up so easily, the sound of their launch familiar, almost as if I had known they were there all along. I gather them and carry them up the mountain.
See what my work has wrought. “Look what I found.”
There is no end to the way gardening is like writing.