It’s Tuesday- time to share a Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers. Check it out here.
The weeding hour begins as my mother and I walk to the edge of her garden bed, the one that wanders up the side and along the back of the lawn behind her house. It’s big, and full of perennials, trees, bushes, and weeds. My mother sits carefully on a small stool that once was my grandmother’s. I kneel nearby in the dirt, and we begin pulling weeds. Most are tall and let go of their grip in the earth easily. Some look as though they hold the promise of pretty blooms, but they are not spared. I think the breeze coming off the water and the clouds overhead will keep us cool, but I am wrong. Soon, my neck and back are damp. It is quiet aside from the occasional high clear “Eeeeeee, eeeeee, eeeee” from the gulls overhead, and, the air feels heavy and full of sneaky heat. Mostly we work in silence, filling an old wooden basket, and a well worn leaf bag. My mother’s German Shepard stays close, pushing his nose into holes uncovered as weeds are cleared, nudging us to throw his toy every once in a while. We pull, we fill, and we dump the containers into the big green trash bin in her garage. We begin again. And so it goes for the next hour. Only a few words pass between us. An occasional laugh, half finished sentences. Mostly, we read each others minds and finish our own and one another’s thoughts in silence.
It’s just weeding, but it is so much more.
I only get this time with my mother for a few weeks each summer. We don’t live close to one another, and when she comes to see me during the school year, it is usually over a holiday or to be present for a family occasion. When I leave next week, I won’t see her again until Thanksgiving, and after that until June, when my oldest daughter will graduate from high school. I treasure my time in the summer with my mother, when I am here to help her with everyday tasks, when we walk our dogs together after dinner each night, and on some afternoons sit for an hour on the beach as she works a crossword puzzle and I read my book.
It’s only weeding, but it is so much more.