Sunday, May 18, 2014


We spent most of the fourth anniversary of Hudson’s death clearing out the spaces in the yard we intend to use for her garden. All we managed to do last year was ceremonially break ground in it by placing a beautiful piece of stone turtle art there—I was 6 months pregnant and just scared enough of toxoplasmosis that I didn’t want to play around in the dirt.

On Wednesday, the day after the anniversary, we had 11 cubic yards of beautiful, warm, rich topsoil/compost mix delivered to the house. In case you are wondering, that is a shit-ton of dirt. We had the guy pile about 2/3 of it in the front of the house for flower beds and the other 1/3 in the back for a vegetable garden. Ed spent this weekend building and filling raised beds for veggies, while I spent it moving wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow (after wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow) full of dirt from a huge pile in the front of the house to various beds all across the front yard. I’d originally thought we’d only have enough for the three beds we’d already cleared, but I must have overcalculated, because we ended up with more than enough for those beds plus two more.

I never imagined I could shovel and move so much dirt by myself in just two days. My arms and shoulders and back and legs ache today, but the work itself was rhythmic and meditative and lovely. Each time I rolled the wheelbarrow back to the dirt pile, each time I shoveled more dirt from the pile and felt the warmth emanating from its insides, each time I dumped the dirt into its new home, I felt closer to Hudson. It was almost as if I were chanting her name all day long. I imagined all the bees and birds that will play in the flowers we will grow, all the passers-by who will hopefully smile and feel refreshed by the bursts of color in the warm months. It was hard, physical work, but it was mentally and spiritually uplifting.  

And here’s the result. Five splendid beds, humming with warmth, waiting to be filled. 

This hard, physical, uplifting work has given me a blank canvas, a canvas ready for me to paint with my grief, and my love.

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