The drenching has finally subsided. For three days it rained. Maybe four. The kids’ school was cancelled Monday due to flooding. Yesterday our grass was shin high and thick. It looked too dense to push a mower through.
During the rains, I watched the garden from the window. So much green against the darkness! The knee-high yarrow is a silver mound that looks like it could pick up its skirt and walk away. The catnip domes to mid-thigh. The Echinacea is lush and dense with long, dark, blue-green leaves that don’t yet have age spots or brown edges from the blazing summer sun.
One evening I couldn’t stand it anymore. I yanked my raincoat off its hanger in the hall closet, pulled on my green rubber boots, opened my polka-dotted umbrella, and I walked the garden in the rain. Drops pattered on the taut nylon of my umbrella, and my boots squished in soft, wet earth.
It had been 10 days since we sowed our wildflower seeds, and I wanted to find sprouts. And boy did I ever find sprouts. In the area we scattered zinnia seeds, several pairs of cotyledons had emerged. In the wildflower bed, dozens of tiny stems pushed up through the mulch. Beneath the ground their seeds have split open, sending a shoot towards the light and roots into the earth. Germination. “The process of something coming into existence.” What a beautiful word.
The seedlings are fragile at this stage, as they anchor themselves, brand new and vulnerable in the big, new world. They will need to grow leaves to gather sunshine and make food; they will need to spread roots to gather water and make a foundation. And they will need space for both: above ground to collect light, and below ground to absorb their drink.
This means I need to weed.
I’ve not yet figured out how to do that, especially since I’m not sure which of the seedlings are the weeds and which ones are the wanted. I can dig out the established weeds, though: the grass that’s creeping into the flower beds, the dandelions and spiny thistles that will never die. Up on the hill there are other weeds I’ve not dealt with before, broad-leaved and fast-growing: wild rhubarb and others I haven’t identified. Like the dandelions, these hillside weeds will be my nemesis throughout the growing season. I will have to be relentless with the spade, digging them out at their roots, refusing to let them take hold and dominate the hill and its new inhabitants.
The fog was thick this morning, and the grass and garden shone neon green as the sun rose and finally cast light on the quenched earth. On Friday I have a flex day. It will be warm and sunny, and I can’t wait to get out there and make space for our seedlings. To give them the chance to put down some roots.
This is my response to The Daily Post’s one-word prompt, roots.