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  • Writer's pictureMj Pettengill

Garden Tears: Never Underestimate the Rain

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

Rain is my constant companion. Although nearing mid-May, I continue to carry wood to keep the fire burning in the kitchen stove. I refuse to wear a coat outdoors. The mud sticks to my shoes, and I abandoned my garden gloves. However, it’s the best time for planting because the black flies don’t like the rain, and it is less traumatic for plants to transition from pots to moist earth.

Photo: Mj Pettengill

My drenched shirt clings to my skin. I prefer rain to bugs. The water that drips from the end of a long curl and onto my face becomes a syncopated rhythm to the music in my head. I always do that. I have songs for random things like the washing machine and the neighbor's leaf blower.

I keep a close watch on the flowers and herbs. Not just the flowers in the gardens scattered around the house, but I am mostly drawn to the wildflowers and herbs in the fields and at the edge of the woods, by the streams and frog pond. I continue to bond with the gardener—the one I never met—who worked the earth before me. She passed the torch, making me the caretaker. I honor the position and must earn the trust necessary to maintain the love born from deep within the womb of Our Mother. I am the best student.

I carry my guide, camera, journal, and pen and open my heart to Her offerings. I wait patiently for one purple tulip to open. I walk by and peek out of the corner of my eye, pretending to be nonchalant. Hastening nature insults Her and me. It is a certain crime.

With heavy heads and weak stalks, the two pastel pink tulips promised so much yet suffered a cruel fate, breaking and dying just before blossoming. I brought them inside and placed them in a bud vase where they will have a chance to boast their beauty, if only in death. It seems nothing goes as planned.

This morning, the rain came down harder than it did yesterday. I sipped my coffee and, through the kitchen window, watched tree limbs sway in the wind. I went outside without a sweatshirt or coat; the cool, damp air brought me deeper into the moment.

I tried to witness when the newborn leaves came. Again, they appeared when I wasn’t looking.

The up-and-coming dark purple lilacs perch quietly on the edge of everywhere, waiting to explode when the time is right. Wilting daffodils retire politely, making room for the irises. Some red and yellow tulips reached too high, too soon, following the path of the pinks as they tumble to the earth in vain, surrendering to my vases.

I revealed my anticipation as I knelt before the single purple tulip, unable to resist touching the silky unopened bud. Overwhelming splendor invites tears. Never underestimate the rain. "Heady Blossoms: Journal, Baby's Breath"

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