Saturday, March 31, 2018

This week is the week I'm supposed to plant my garden

but I haven't even thought about it until today.

Other years, by this time, I would've been deep in my planning. Poring over garden design books, drawing grids on graph paper. Where to put the rows. How to arrange the pots and planters.

Not this year.

This year I haven't even been outside to pick up the broken branches or rake the blown leaves. The yard is a minefield of monkey balls and dog poop, mucky puddles and Dr. Seuss-looking weeds. It's the weird winter weather we've had. That creepy week back in February when the temperature hit the high 70's. Then the plunge back into the 20's. The mornings I woke up to snow I hadn't known was in the forecast. Watching flowers that shouldn't have bloomed, crushed.

Also, I've been busy. Working at the bookstore, my first job outside the home in ten years. And writing another book. It's done. Sort of. The draft in the hands of my critique partner.

Maybe it's the depletion that comes from finishing up a book, and balancing that with working, but lately, I'm not feeling very hopeful about my garden.

The reality is it doesn't get enough sun. Every year the trees in our yard stretch out farther, letting less light through. My husband says we should cut a few down, or at least trim them, but I have a thing about cutting down trees. The thing is called I Don't Want to Cut Down Trees.

Even if it means I can't grow as many tomato plants. Or any.

Today I went to a story-time at the bookstore. The author/illustrator Aiko Ikegami read from her new book Seed Man. The story is about a man who comes to town and plants a magical tree. Gifts grow on the tree instead of fruit. Books and toys and pets. There's a moment of potentially heartbreaking drama where one of the characters rejects the gift he's been given. But then he realizes his mistake and everything works out.

The story-time was very interactive. Aiko Ikegami played the cello while her friend played the violin. She brought a basket of seed packets to hand out as gifts.

I sat on the floor, cross-legged with the kids who came to listen. I got teary-eyed waiting for the story to turn hopeful. I'm not usually one to get teary-eyed. It might be a side-effect of "finishing" a book, a book that in all likelihood will go the way of the last four books I've written.

By which I mean, Nowhere.

After the story-time, I snagged a seed packet. I was as delighted as the kids to find that the packet contained smaller packets, each carefully labeled.

Seeds to plant if wanted to.

I know I know. I don't have to plant a garden. I don't have to write another book.

But on this rare sunny day, I know that I will.


  1. May your seeds grow, may your work flourish and thrive.

  2. I'm sorry to hear you're in the post-book doll-drums, exacerbated by the weather and the trees. This year I'm not starting anything by seed--too many trips up to help my dad. But, sis got the basics started, so I'll still have some home-grown peppers and 'maters. Here's to warmer days, and time for you to garden.