“I’ll make you a deal,” I plead, cheerful optimism forced upon each syllable. “You go to sleep and stay asleep before the sun sets so I can have some garden time, and I’ll give you three extra kisses.”
It’s dim, but not dark. Just before eight o’clock. I rush outside. I want to dig the rest of the garlic before it rots where it’s buried. I see an ant sipping the wine of the Mexican Oregano.
The fading light leaves a squash blossom alit.
I check on the carrots, long shaded by last year’s hidden sweet potatoes.
And the leek’s getaway is complete.
I hear the backdoor creak open. My heart sinks.
“He’s asking for you. Do you want me to bring him down or do you want to go back up?”
I go back up. The irrational emotions flare with each step. I take a deep breath, lower my shoulders, and swallow them down until I’ve softened.
It’s nearly nine o’clock. I haven’t finished my dinner. I nearly sprint out the door, snatch up my trowel, and make a bee line for the garlic. Surrounded by liquefied chard leaves the garlic is doing its best to thwart the hunger that crawls around it, along it, but hopefully not through it.
I send the blade deep into the soil and pry. Each root gives one by one and at once. The soil clings heavy. The roots ching greedily. Tap, tap, tap – some falls. I drape the shoot over the edge of the bed and move on. Another. Slice. Pry. Tap.Tap.Tap. Drape. Again.
The pill bugs scatter. The slugs hold tight. An earthworm seemingly launches from the earth and frantically races toward blind freedom. I watch it a moment. Dropping soil gently down its length, I bury it.
It’s dark now. Ration has yet to return. Dinner is three hours cold. I’m depleted. Unable to find enjoyment in the moments of daylight spent outdoors, alone, I step past the dinner bowl discarded to feed others, tend to others, love on others.
An apple, a knife, and a jar of peanut butter usually does the trick. Here’s hoping.