I remember when I first learned that I’d be blogging for The Basin Blog this month. I feared many things. What would I write about? Would my writings be long enough? Would anyone be interested in what I write? Where would I even start? I must admit that I’ve really surprised myself. Particularly I’m surprised that my grandmother came up so much in many of the blogs I’ve contributed.
Now as I sit here preparing my final contribution, looking out at the sunny Texas sky, I remember feeling and saying that I wanted readers to join me as I made Texas my home. And now as I say good bye, I remember that there is seldom a good bye without a hello. When we leave the nest to go on to school or our chosen future endeavors, we say good bye to our comfort zone and hello to the new world we’ve made ourselves a part of.
So today I say good bye to you all, as my month as the featured writer comes to an end, yet I also say hello as I’ve excitedly began something new. I’ve started something that I’ve wanted for such a long time . . . an herb garden.
Those that know me know that I love to cook. I enjoy it to no end. Had it not been for grandma, I would have gone to culinary school. The thought of going to my own garden and picking up my vegetables and herbs is one that has seduced me for years. But I must admit, my thumb is not green, red or black maybe, but definitely not green. My sons are so tickled at the very thought of me trying to keep a plant alive, that they usually hold internal bets as to how long it will take me to kill it. My sixteen year old says that I kill everything green but money. But I’ve wanted to do this for so long and the more I’ve been here, in Texas, the more I’ve learned that . . . I can do anything. Just like my mother and grandmother said.
So keeping with the spirit of finding my heart, traveling outside of my comfort zone, and learning who I am away from all that has been around me all of my life. I realized that no matter how many plants I’ve inadvertently killed in the past, I still want to master the art of actually growing something. I want to work hard at something, nurture it, and yield the fruits of my labor . . . sort to speak.
So this week I decided to finally plant my herb garden.
I started with six landscape logs and an idea of what I wanted it to look like. That is all. But when I got home I realized that I had no way to cut the logs and I knew no one who could do it for me. So back to the chair thing that grandma instilled in me. I stood on my own and returned to the home store and purchased an electric circular saw. And so it began!
Examining my backyard for the perfect spot I remembered that I am a stickler for how things look and I wanted to make sure that if I did this project, I did it right. As you exit my back door, there is a small area that I initially thought would be perfect. Simply because it is right there and would require no work from me at all to extract herbs from it. However I was wrong. It was not the most ideal spot for the garden. One of the things about getting older is realizing that you’re not always right and more importantly, that that reality doesn’t have to be and intimidating one.
So I began to really survey the yard and what I can only describe as a whisper spoke to me and said, “go to the side of the house.” I followed the whisper and it was beautiful over there. A long, wide strip of land stretching approximately twenty five feet long and ten feet wide, I knew immediately that was where the garden should go.
Yet another great thing about growing older is that you also grow wiser. I felt it might be a good idea to watch and see how much sun the side of the house received. So I watched, and watched, and watched. For nearly ten hours the sun never left the side of my home. That was definitely the spot! And I was ready!
With my spade and shovel in hand I began my work. After a while my iPod joined in, then my sun blocker, then my Off bug repellant. I hadn’t planned for any of these things to attend the garden party, but years of learning can come in handy and subconsciously when you least expect it.
There is something about creating. There is something about starting from nothing and seeing, I mean really seeing what you can do. Achievement I think they call it.
By the time it all started to come together I was in the backyard, dancing to Marvin Gaye, the Black Eye Peas, and Booney James. Dancing and digging, dancing and digging. And in the quiet of my own backyard I began to feel a peace unlike any I’ve experienced ever.
I feel good. I’m older. I’m wiser. I’m secure. I’m happier than I’ve ever been. And I’m loving every part of my life. I think about my grandmother and wonder what would she say now? What would she say seeing me shovel dirt and haul it away in the beverage cooler? What would she say to me coming to the yard, working, and thinking . . . “oh I can do this,” which always prompts another ride to the home store. What would she say to have seen a patch of green go from a mundane part of the yard to what is to become my herb garden? What would she say had she seen me pick up an electric circular saw, put my two countertop stools next to each other to make a makeshift saw bench? What would she have said when I pulled out my black and pink tool set, the one I keep hidden from my boys? What would she have said when I sat in the grass to stain the wood so that it doesn’t turn ugly in years to come?
The beautiful thing about having had a relationship with someone is that they don’t have to be here for you to know what they would have said. I knew her and knew her well. We talked about everything. We shared everything. And as I continue to identify the fact that I no longer look for my heart, I’ve found it and I learn more about it every day. I also carry my grandmother in it. She is with me. She is a part of me. She made me. And I never have to wonder what she would say. I can hear her more clearly now than I did when she sat over me as a young girl.
She would look at me. Her eyes would become glassy. She would look at my tools. She would look at my gloves. She would look at my garden. Then she would look back at me and say simply, quietly, peacefully, and meaningfully . . . “my Misha.”