Sunday, May 5, 2013

Yard Work

She dug down into the dirt with her gloved fingers and strained to get a good grip on the root.  With her hand firmly wrapped around the plant she pulled.  Her breath stuck in her chest, her arms struggling to shift upwards and her whole body tense with the effort as she pulled.  A few small roots gave with a twitch and then the whole plant came out, landing her unceremoniously on her butt.  She let out an angry groan as she felt the sting on her bottom and threw the weed onto the pile she'd made.

She thought about the people she knew who said that they loved gardening,  The ones who had hundreds of photos on their phones of their flowers and vegetables and pathways that took them weeks to build.  The ones that talked about how peaceful and serene they felt with their hands in the dirt, digging up weeds and planting new things.  And she wondered what the hell was wrong with them.

"How we doing?" Ben asked as he rounded the corner of their house from the back.

She made a noise as if she were about start start crying and frowned at him, her lips in a large pout.

"That good, huh?" he asked, then put his hands on his hips and looked over the work she'd done.

She looked too, and her eyes caught a thousand tiny little clusters of clovers and shoots and vines that were still growing.  She feared it would take her hours to dig out each one and pull if free of the mulch uselessly covering it.

"Looks like you're about done to me," he said.

"But there's still all the tiny ones," she complained.  "I got the big ones but there's all those little clovers and stuff- they're only gonna get bigger."

"At least then they'll be easier to pull," he said, smiling.

She frowned at him again and let her eyes wilt with the corners of her mouth.

"Oh, sweetie- no, don't make that face," he said, coming over to her and squatting down next to her. "It's not gonna be perfect, it's just gonna have to do."  He gave her shoulder a sqeeze and smiled at her.

She was too exhausted to argue and as maddening as it was to leave so much undone she couldn't resit the urge to retreat back to the plant-free confines of her living room.  She sighed, then gave him her hand to help her up.

"You, know it really does look a world better," he said, giving the arrangement one more look.

She took a step back and looked over the space.  the bushes were no longer choked with green shoots and clover, the ground looked like the color of mulch again rather than then the shine of green which had covered every inch, and the tiny growing weeds seemed inconsequential from this vantage.

"Well, I guess it's good enough for government work," she said, and let him lead her back into the house.


  1. You were in my garden last week! :)
    Great short! Thanks for sharing!
    So true, the sweat, grime, and frustration of weeding to get that beautiful picture. But the satisfaction of finally getting the picture, so worth it! Besides gardening is so much better than cleaning house, washing clothes or watching reruns despite the constant war with weeds!

  2. Lovely story! :) I wanted to let you know that I've nominated you for the Liebster Award. You can accept it here... Happy Writing!

  3. We all can relate to this story! It seems like the dandelions and weeds overtake everything. Just a couple of weeks ago we had no grass at all. Now we have thick grass, daffodils and dandelions, too.

  4. Oh I love gardening, as long as the earthworms stay out of my way.
    Thanks for coming by my blog.

  5. So true to life. I've been there in the fight against weeds but sometimes if it is pretty I will leave it in.

    1. Me, too- especially because I often don't know whether or not it's a weed.

  6. Those tiny, invisible moments that are, in reality, so very huge. Nice post, Beverly.

  7. "The ones that talked about how peaceful and serene they felt with their hands in the dirt, digging up weeds and planting new things. And she wondered what the hell was wrong with them."

    Oh my gosh — so true! I hate weeding, most of the time. Especially the little things: I have red valerian that is lovely but spreads worse than dandelions. But I have to say, there is something weirdly satisfying about the big thing you get out of the ground; especially if it has a taproot. I love that POP you get when a taproot is wrested from the earth. I feel like I've conquered something. I will actually do hero-arms above my head sometimes, if nobody is looking.


Thank you for your comment! I will love it and hug it and pet it and call it George. Or, you know, just read and reply to it. But still- you rock!