I stand in the garden, nibbling one of the freshly picked snow peas. Watching the last of the evening sun as it slants over the roof of the house and gilds the walnut tree in the back yard. A petunia-scented breeze ruffles my hair. What a relief after the day's heat. I curl my toes in the sandy soil, dry and crisp on the surface but still damp from the morning’s rain underneath. A quarter mile away, the neighbor’s dog is barking. The wind sighs through the pines. Behind me, I hear the faint rustle of my mother picking the beans. In my memory, I see the beloved forms of Grandma and Great-grandma, as they were then, stooping over the same garden’s rows. I consider the very real possibility that someday my grandchildren will stand where I do now, drinking in another August evening. A rush of thankfulness and contentment squeezes at my throat.
Above is the post that started this blog on August 8, 2005, more than a year and a half ago. I'm very thankful I considered the moment valuable enough to chronicle. So much has changed since then! Now, the garden lies fallow—not just because of winter. There may be no garden this year, for the first time in decades. Mom is still recovering in the hospital from a car wreck that took my dad. I don't know if she'll have the strength (or the heart) to plant this year without him.
But the garden must go on. It has to continue for the sake of my other life-shifting change. The vague shadow I imagined when I daydreamed that "someday my grandchildren will stand where I do now" has become a reality. A little girl named Audrey graces our lives. Her mommy and daddy already are planning to teach her to love gardens and their treasures.
Soon, I'll be back at the homestead. I'll stand and stare at the sleeping garden. In my memory, I'll see the beloved forms of Grandma, Great-grandma, and Dad, stooping over the rows. By their side, I'll imagine a blue-eyed little girl, her tiny hands busily searching for the ripening crop. Seasoned with the salty tang of tears, another rush of thankfulness will squeeze my throat. The heritage of the garden will live.