Karen Rivers


Karen Rivers

The maple tree that my son planted from a seed is almost as tall as the house and I look at it and I'm astonished.   I want to grab people walking by and say, "Do you see that?  My son planted that from a seed. LOOK at it!"   It feels like a miracle, that tree, the way that hundreds of leaves have suddenly unfurled and are even as I type blowing in the wind, the sun shining through them, iridescent green.   

My son is taller than me now.   That is a thing that happened.   One minute he wasn't and then he was as surely as if the race were never even close.   

When I was little, my parents planted three trees in the front yard.  They made a kind of triangle.  I remember playing games there, running tiny laps around them.  Then the trees got too big or died. I don't remember them going but they are all gone now.  The place they were is just grass, sloping down to the street like a humped back.

The trees have something to do with everything.   

I woke up this morning and the sun had already risen and I could tell it was warm because of the smell of drying cut grass.   It's the weekend so everyone is out there, mowing, the lawns like patchy carpets buzzing with bees and already beginning to brown.   The sheets were smooth and cool against my skin and the dogs were sleeping, heads pressed against my legs, and I thought that maybe this is the best part, the smell of this season and the softness of sheets that have been washed and dried a million times, the book I fell asleep reading still open beside me, the sun streaming in the skylights.

This is it. 

 Enjoy it.   

I keep wanting to hit pause, right here, with this half-drunk cup of coffee made exactly how I like it, the laptop warm on my legs,  the newly planted flower pots showing off in the morning light, a hummingbird hovering right there.

I like the book I'm writing.   I haven't written anything else for a while because I couldn't.  I've been wrestling alligators, wanting the book to be a thing it didn't want to be.  It's been reptilian -- rough-skinned and toothy -- wanting to drag me under, but suddenly it's just clicked.  It's working because it's easy, that's how I know.   It wasn't an alligator at all, or maybe it was and the gator was just misunderstood, a movie monster.

Writing books is sometimes like being pregnant but in the way that an elephant is pregnant, which is to say being pregnant for so long that you no longer remember a time before you were, so you can't imagine a time when you are not.   

I have two pending projects that are equally exciting, after this.   They are already lurking behind the WIP, waiting to be seen.    Like all of us, I guess.   It's hard to see when they're just seeds but I wonder if they will turn into maple trees or bright orange carrots or a smattering of wildflowers in the shade of the 300 year old fir tree that hurls its cones down on the roof with such determined ferocity.   I'm daydreaming.  I put the hammock up last week.  

What else is there to say?   As I type, I'm always thinking, "No one reads blogs any more, for goodness sake."   I think it in a British accent, a kind of scolding tsk tsk sound along-side it.  But say someone does read it.  Say that someone is you.   Hello there.  

Today, I'm going to mow the side yard and plant the vegetables.  The garden is a constant war with me on one side -- the side of goodness and righteousness, of course -- and the weeds opposing, using their unethical tactics like Russian bots on Facebook.  The weeds are always far in the lead, but I love being out there, chipping away at them, clearing the dirt out inch by inch, only to have it overtaken again.   The different weeds mark the changing season, first the buttercup and then the morning glory and after that the grasses.   If you were a weed, what kind of weed would you be?  That's probably a quiz you could take on the Internet.   There's one kind of weed that I have that's poisonous in every way:  the sap, the leaves, the roots even.   You have to admire that.   There's really no way that it doesn't win.  It leaves its itchy scars.   I don't really mind.  Like they say in job interviews: I love a challenge.  

Besides, they were all once just seeds.   Isn't that what this post is meant to be about?   The Things That Grow.   The wild things.

Every time a seed is planted, it anchors me more to this house, this life, this place.   The veggies can't match up to the miracle of that tree though, the way the dog lies on the back of the chair so he can look out the window at it, the birds perched to survey the neighbourhood, the rabbit hiding near its trunk, the way it sweeps the sky gently like a paint brush, nudging the clouds north and south, the shadows of the leaves flickering on the ground below.  

What I mean is that right now, everything is okay here.   How are you?