The underneath.

A perpetual chard that perpetually grew until it finally lost to Texas summer. 

A potted parsley planted and left for a year or so that’s gone to seed.

A misplaced mysterious melon. 

Malabar spinach’s inaugural year.

Complete with unexpected flowers.

And nearby neighbors.

The ants have bloomed.

I can’t think of a better way to describe it. Deluge after deluge and then a pause. I could escape! The tomatoes need to come out as they stopped earning their keep weeks and weeks ago. 

I stepped into the garden and the ground was moving. My skin was on edge. There were multi lane freeways and block parties of ants in every bed, in every path, on every post. 

My husband had read about a new bait he’d been wanting to try: peanut butter and borax. He whipped up a batch and I set about with a spoon.

This was two weeks ago now. They nearly disappeared for a week. Today was round two. 

I think I’ll stick to a three day cycle to try and truly banish them for at least a little while. Between the ants, mosquitos, and poison oak, outside is a little more vicious this year than most.

But then there’s this …

My storm drain has never looked so nice.

Where I’ve been.

I’m just starting to get back outside (aside from trips from air-conditioned house to air-conditioned car to air-conditioned office and back again.)

For the first time in a month. 

Why?

Well, about a month ago the baby went to bed and I knew it wasn’t for good, but I needed (needed) to get my hands dirty. It was a race against the baby clock. I ran downstairs as quietly as I could. Shoving tied shoes onto tired feet. Mind spinning – what to do? What to do?

I head to the front bed, overgrown with weeds and grass and getting worse the longer I leave things to seed. Rip. Tug. Puuuuuuull. Weeds and grass flung out of the earth and onto the walk. Faster. Deeper. 

There.

The weeds were gone. The grass was gone. I loaded the bundle into my arms for the bin and wandered back to tackle the roses. 

Screech…

I look up to see two heads pop out of the upstairs window. “He’s up.”

I race inside. Shedding my shoes and shirt and launching up the stairs into bed with the baby to try and nurse him back down before he’s too awake to settle.

Whew.

Fast forward two days later and I’m nursing him in the middle of the night and…That’s a killer spider bite on my pinky. 

Fast forward to the next evening. You guessed it. 


Ooze. 

It’s not even that I didn’t see it. It’s that I didn’t even look. I didn’t realize I’d been exposed. I’d just spent three days spreading the oils all.over.the.house.

I’ll spare you the pictures of my pinky trying to swim away in a sea of ooze. Or the crawling dime-sized blister on the back of my hand. Or the 8″x4″ map of seeping Australia on my stomach…

I got a new patch every few hours for ten days straight. It took washing every.thing.in.the.house.every.day for five days to stop the cycle. I covered head to toe, sitting on sheets, everything else was molten lava.

It had been ten years (just) since I’d last gotten poison oak. I used to get it every summer growing up. This was the worst time. I’ll be ok if I can make it at least two decades before i get it again. And you can bet your raised eyebrow I’ll be weeding so very carefully going forward.

I still look like I’m recovering from a motorcycle crash without enough gear. I still hear, “Mama, bad rash. That’s a bad rash. Skin hurt?” But I can stomach standing outside now without raging my way into a miserable fit. So there’s that.

Teeny tiny nom.

Do you see it? No?


 How about now?

Not anymore. “Tomato? Mmmm…I like tomatoes. I’m chewing. All gone.”

This little plant hitched a ride a long way. From kitchen to compost. Compost to garden bed. Garden bed to front bed in the soil surrounding a (still unhappy) rosemary plant. It grew. And grew. Dodging lawnmower blades and only getting misty watering twice a week, it grew. 

Perhaps next year I’ll plant an intentional tomato there. 

Feel the feels, y’all. 

“Sometimes I think the urgency to continue on to the next mundanity is a calculated distraction designed to prevent one from feeling all of the depth, breath, and heft of each moment. Each moment is wrapped in layer after layer and rare is the painless peeling.”

– me, soaking up every iota of input from the moments spent swaying, holding my son, who will be even older tomorrow, until enough tomorrows have passed that he no longer fits in the cradle of my arms, his head too large someday for the crook of my neck. Me, soaking up so much that I overflow and tears slip between my lashes and I breathe into the cramp growing in my back to stand and sway a little longer.