It seems Silas is the true gardener. Each day, he makes his way up our backyard hill to inspect the zinnas, the last of the tomatoes, pick a few lima beans, and check on the newly sprouted arugula and spinach.
He might dig a bit with his trowel and find a grub, or pick seeds out of a discarded sunflower head to scatter for the birds. Sometimes, he just piddles around up there—no real purpose other than being in the garden.
He’s two years old.
I stand at our kitchen window, wiping up breakfast crumbs and watch my boy, my baby-becoming-a-person and I’m aghast. I’m heart throbbingly in love and in awe that he’s mine. But he isn’t, and I suppose that’s the only thing that keeps my heart pinned in my chest cavity. He belongs to the garden, to growing things, to God.
When the spinach seeds sprouted, I pointed to the unfurled twin leaves and told him that they were babies.
"Hi, babies. I’m Silas." he chirped his introduction. He’s the tender of all things new and growing because he gets it in a way I don’t. He wakes in the morning AWAKE and HUNGRY and ready. New tilled soil.
Ready to say hello to the garbage man, ready to kiss his baby sister, ready to read, ready to play, ready to say new words, ready to read the same daggone book we read every day. Ready, most of all to smile with every tooth in his mouth.
I pick baskets full of lima beans and marvel that they were, months ago, dry seeds in a paper envelope I paid $1.50 for at Lowes. Our hands string, pop, pluck out the celedon seeds and fill up freezer bags.
We’ll make it through the winter. Or at least enjoy lima beans for eight or so dinners.
I think that’s the same—the survival and enjoyment. When my fork spears a few salt briney, soft mealy limas this January I’ll think of this summer’s garden. I’ll think of Silas introducing himself to spinach sprouts. I’ll think that I’ve made it through a season, I’m making it through this season. I’ll think that maybe making it through is actually living this live of mine.
This life of God’s, this time that’s not my own, this plot of dirt we plant and tend and marvel.