First Time Out

I scrubbed them with lime basil soap and rubbed in lotion of coconut milk and orchid extract again and again. Still, my hands feel like sandpaper. It’s okay, though.

It’s what happens when you put your hands in the dirt for the first time as the season of planting and growing draws nigh.

When I bought this house three years ago, I told myself I wasn’t going to plant anything. Except grass. There was nothing in the back yard but a blanket of dirt with seeds and straw over it. I couldn’t manage all the flower beds at my old house, and I didn’t want to find myself in that shape in this place. But no. I couldn’t leave it alone.


I hauled in a hundred bags of topsoil and mulch and spread it all with my bare hands. I hauled in stones for delineating the beds and pathways — over four hundred of them. I planted eight trees, twenty-eight bushes, and more perennial flowers and herbs than I can count. So now, I have to keep the weeds out and the mulch fresh.

Yesterday, I started the job. I cleaned out one bed.


There’s just something about being outdoors in expectant late winter when one day after weeks of cold and wind and even snow and ugly ground, the sun shines and sends down warmth. My soul feels a need to be a part of it, and so I walk my little plot of land and look at buds on tree limbs, hopeful, and blueberries wanting to break forth, and irises rising up anew. It all sends a push of joy up from my chest.


There’s nothing more satisfying than surrounding myself with life and growth and fun and memories of places I’ve been and people I love.


And I know … I will find a way and a place to plant something new in that full yard once spring comes to stay.