This summer I started a couple of “therapy” gardens. I have a dozen or so herbs, lettuce, flowers, and berries. I dig in them and bury my frustrations, sprinkling them with the sweat that drips from my forehead. Today, I’m not sure which was the most cathartic – the session with my actual therapist, or the trip to the nail salon for a bubble gum confection of toenails and fingernails. The sweet manicurist poured out memories of her great grandparents in Vietnam, intermitted with tapping my hand signaling a switch from swiping on the blushed glossiness from her slick brush, to sticking my hand under the dryer. She reminisced about memories of working in the garden with her staunchly independent grandmother, tending her coffee beans. A childhood full of single, independent women who had become as strong and rich, in spirit, as the ebony beans they harvested.
I rarely get to water my gardens unless it’s after Milo’s bedtime. The frenzy of one year old insanity ensues with the turning on of the faucet, and he really can’t help himself.
He tromps through the lettuce, plows through the basil. I can’t get mad at him though. I just try to redirect him, lure him back onto the grass by changing the direction of the sprinkler. He’s sure to have memories of the water and the soil from this summer on. He comes from a long line of garden addicts from both my side and the Rasmussen side, it’s encoded in his DNA whether he likes it or not. My oldest has memories of working alongside my mother in her flower beds. Some of my fondest memories growing up are working with her in those same beds. Dragging limb after broken tree limb down near the pond. Her pyromaniac tendencies always led to the best brush fires.
Her gardens are full of the same tendencies as mine- borrowed snippets of starts to every imaginable flower. The soil mixed with years of determination and conversation with children and grandchildren. The little tow-headed toddler who used to poke at rolly pollies, following Grams around her yard, is now a sixteen year old who scares me to death navigating a car through a parking lot.
I hope they will someday find preserved in them memories grown from snippets of moments tromping through the vegetables, pulling up the weeds, and squishing the bugs.