These are the things I understand...

Sean, in his gracious kindness, got the first flowerbed in the back yard tilled for us today. It is enormous—more enormous than I'd hoped, but I find that I'm not terribly daunted or terrified by this fact. Instead, I look at the bed and I think, "Ah! Larger than life! I can just plant more of the things I enjoy."

I suppose that's the best way to look at it.Even the large butterfly bushes I bought are dwarfed by the size of the bed.

Jeff took a nap late this afternoon. While he was stretched out on the bed, the cats at his feet, I took the opportunity to tiptoe outside to ponder, undisturbed, on this new flowerbed. After walking outside, I realized I hadn't put on my shoes, so I stopped on the sidewalk and took off my socks and walked barefoot through the grass, newly shorn and still wet from this afternoon's rain.

I stood there, deep in thought, until I heard a tapping on the window from the kitchen. Jeff waved hello and left me to continue contemplating.

If I stand there long enough, I can just about see it. I'll have to buy a lot of seeds and start the plants myself; otherwise the cost for setting out such a huge garden from scratch would be a formidable cost indeed. But I find myself looking there and thinking of all the things I could do. I want a chorus of blooms, all shapes and sizes and colors, something to last more than a week in the first blush of spring—something whose color and beauty will reward me throughout the growing season.

Mints in the back, to grow wild and serve as ground cover by the fringe flowers. The butterfly bushes will grow tall, their cones of purple flowers pointing every which way. The daylilies a combination of butter and sunlight, the irises every shade from lavender to purple.

And basil…oh, I shall have basil next year. For two years now I have wanted to have enough basil that I could make batches of pesto for freezing. Next year I'll start up a nicely-sized batch of seedlings and I will put up enough pesto to keep me happy in the wintertime.

An unexpected side benefit: I can tell my mother what I want for Christmas, and she will laugh, oh, she'll laugh. I'll tell her not to worry about getting me stuff for the interior of the house, as that is mostly decorated at this point.

For Christmas gifts, she can give me flowers. Not flowers now, but potential flowers. Bulbs, seeds and corms. Crocuses, daylilies, daffodils, tulips, begonias, wildflowers to scatter, seeds of all shapes and sizes and colors. Perhaps even sunflowers; I have room.

It will grow—and yes, my back will ache, my neck will sunburn, my knees and shoes will be perpetually muddy, and my baseball cap will seem welded to my ponytail—but these are the things I understand: flowers, and growing, and planning for next year.

Right now it is a patch of dirt, uneven from the fresh tilling. It needs a raking down, edging, mulching, and greenery—but these things will come. I have a vase in my living room filled with fresh flowers from my garden; you enter the living room to the faint whiff of gardenias. Until next spring, and there are more, it will do.

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