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I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water and after twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live on a hill by a small lake and work at a public garden. These are stories about nature written from a women deeply influenced by place.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Playing in the Rain

Yesterday I gardened in the rain. I planted some mid summer beets and carrots, impartial to whether or not they decide to germinate in the heat of July. A friend gave me a variety of white strawberry plants which I also transplanted in the muddy soil, loosened by the rain. I had been dreading trying to dig into the hardened clay to create a this new, but much needed, garden bed for these plants so desperate for the security of the earth. So when the rain started, I knew this was my chance. The rain would help me dig.
Meanwhile, my oldest son wandered through the wet yard, stomping in the mud, kicking at the droplet ladened clovers, and trudging through the tall grass that is going to seed. He walked in circles for an hour without an agenda or plan. I feel this wandering was important. Too often we forget to just take some time to do nothing.
By the end of our time outside we were soaked to the bone, our rain coats had been swamped by the pounding water. As we walked back to the house I noticed a particularly juicy looking cucumber hanging over the fence. My son picked it from the vine and asked if he could please eat it. Of course I said yes.
Watching my boy walk back to the house with mud on his boots, rain soaked hair, devouring a cucumber fresh from the vine, I feel hopeful, elated.
Later, after the rain stopped, we all went out to play in the mud: the baby, the boy, and I. The woman in me who has to clean the house tried not to think of all the laundry I would have to do later or the muddy floor I'd be mopping. It was less important than the lessons lying in the mud. Messy outdoor romping is good for the young souls of children. My boys stomped in the muck, mushed clay between their fingers, and gently, playfully threw mud into each other's hair. Smiles graced their faces and their eyes glowed with wonder. Watching them delight in the soft squish of clay and earth, I realize that these are the moments that make a childhood shimmer.

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