Clearing out the Underbrush

This weekend husband and I worked in the yard. Wild trees had grown up in the lobelia. Morning glory had killed a flowering bush. The gardenias had died a mysterious death after a neighbor did work on the fence. Plants grown familiar through repeated weedings choked the rose bushes and the black-eyed susans.

I sat on the front sidewalk and pulled out the runners of St. Augustine that blanketed what used to be mulched flower bed. I reach my fingers in between the stems of the four o-clocks to single out the stalks of wild grass. Husband wields a shovel, digs deep to uproot what does not belong.

We work in separate parts of the yard, a fence, and more, between us. He flops on the grass, his face red under his hat. I pause, scissors in one hand, a rose cane in the other. A reluctant gardener, I still cannot bear to see him wilt. “Do you need me to get you water?”

“No, I have some,” he says. And if later anger makes my hands shake, when I go outside again there is a sense of openness, of space cleared of what kept new things from growing.

The possibility of a new landscape.

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