They came anyway.

She painted it metallic pinks and purples. Covered it in foam sticker butterflies and hearts. We hung it on the fence and waited.

The rains came and the heat, too, and the paint started to peel. A sticker and then two and twenty washed away.

A few butterflies remain and today, she squealed a whispered jump for joy in my ear.

“They found it! Look, mama!”

Howdy, new neighbor. Make yourself at home.

Wildflower anticipation.

The youngest picked a packet at the shop last we went. A mix of wild promises of blossom and burst.

This variety has sprouted in a few spots we sprinkled. Each pair of leaves with a match pair of nibbles. Such consistency that I first thought it a pattern of growth… but it’s instead a habitual snacker.

It’ll be a lovely wait and good surprise to see what these grow into, if they make it to maturity.

Again.

Again, it says.

Too much. Again.

Did I do that? Or was it done?

I’m not practiced in talking about it. Sometimes, my body rebels. Or breaks down. Or screams. Sometimes, it flares into stinging and aches, walking oddly and thinking foggy.

So the seeds sit unsown. The plans lapse unknown. And I try and practice sharing that I’m human, and no, I won’t be eating that, running there, wearing those, or brimming with the patience and clarity we are both accustomed to.

Instead, here’s me.

That’s hard, for me, to be.

Coffees.

Yes, plural.

It’s odd. Interesting. Intriguing. Why can’t we, culturally, meet to chat and see, without coffee, booze, or tea?

Work is currently chats and catch ups and introductions. Fascinating. And caffeinating.

Hopefully fruitful.

Sunflower underleaf nests for this beneficial…or pest?

I think he remembered.

It’s been ages since he’s been. Five years, perhaps? Half his life.

He saw my grubby shoes go by the door.

Wag.

I put on sunscreen.

Dance.

I grabbed my keys.

Whine. Whine.

I picked up the leash.

Loaded in the car, he quieted. Tongue lolling. Bracing corners. Toppling.

Just before the driveway to the parking lot.

Whinewhinewhinewhine.

Pranceprance.

I know, buddy, me, too.

Any guesses on this volunteer?