It has been a rough couple of months.
So many years of fighting to keep my footing on some small piece of something solid while the world fell apart around me. While my life fell apart until I wasn’t even sure anymore which parts were me and which parts were just some sort of survival instinct, programmed to get through each day because getting through was the most I dared really hope for.
Some of it was grief. A lot of it was grief. But now, a little over ten years after my son died and a little less than two years after my husband moved out, I can see how much the grief hid deeper struggles. Deeper hurts.
So I find myself where I often find myself when I’m not sure how to feel. In the garden, fighting with the weeds. Out here, on my own, things rise to the surface I normally keep hidden. Frustration turns to anger turns to rage when I can’t get the cultivator to start. The impulse to bash it against a fence post takes even me by surprise and I become aware that I am trembling almost like I am watching someone else melt down, not experiencing it myself.
Normally, I would choke back the anger, inform the cultivator I was not getting my son in threatening tones and finally storm off to enlist his help. He can start it on the first pull. Every. Single. Time. This always makes it worse.
Ten years ago, I fell apart in the garden, crying, “I don’t know how to do this.” A few months ago, I fell apart in the bathroom because I felt so completely alone. Now, rage boils to the surface because I want to do this myself. I don’t want to ask for help. I just want it to work.
But my son is at camp. I am on my own. And when I finally get the cultivator started, it really isn’t much consolation. But the slow, methodical work relieves the tension. The constant buzz of the two stroke engine dulls my thoughts. The steady progress turns my eyes toward the harvest and the promise of rewards not yet seen.
And I look over to my old berry patch. There use to be a row of elderberry, a row of currants and row of gooseberries. Last year, a few of the larger elderberries produced some berries, but not enough to do anything with them. Then the sheep got to them. Then the weeds. Then the lawnmower. If my new berry patch does well, I want to expand and replant there. Already, I am making plans for the future and I am not even finished weeding the first row. But something catches my eye and I walk to the edge of the fence.
It is small, hidden in the grass, but unmistakable. The entire row of elderberry is coming back. There are more plants coming up from the roots than I originally planted.
And just in case I missed the point entirely, as I turn away, I notice two gooseberries striving toward the light.
Sometimes, life is too hard. It feels like the storms of life come through, sheer you off at the base and leave you unsure of the future and whether you will ever see the fruit of your labor.
But life is in the roots. It is in where you set your roots. When they are deep and healthy and set in good soil, they store the energy needed for new growth. For new life. For new hope.
Life is in the roots.