As Inspired by Braiding Sweetgrass

When I was born, my parent's brought home my placenta and buried it under a lilac bush in our backyard. You could say after that I was raised by flowers, intimately connected to lilacs. Spring would arrive and my Mom would plant. It was her haven, and I would walk among the flowers she lovingly placed in the earth, surrounded the their scent. Flowers still feel like home, the look of them, the feel of them. Fingers in dirt roots me down and I'm back in my childhood yard, the forsythias a riot of yellow as glowing as the afternoon sun.

Like a young child called to pick up every shiny rock, when I'm walking I'm called to come in close to each flower I pass. While I have my favorites, I can't seem to resist inspecting every little bud, their rainbow of colors so pleasing to my eye. They have a voice and a language all their own, and its a familiar crescendo when the rest of life feels like an unfamiliar symphony. Everything has a voice, and when I moved to Colorado from Pennsylvania, it felt like shifting into a new language that I'd only even seen on paper and never heard spoken before. It took me 4 years to learn to speak Colorado, and 3 months of a pandemic to make me feel like I lost my new language.

My one constant though, is the flowers. Their's is a language that flows in my veins, the one I dream in. My exuberance feels like the bright orange of a tiger lily, the ones that naturally lined the dirt roads leading to my parent's house. Once I was old enough, I would walk by them, and gently run my hands across their stems to send them waving in my self-created breeze. On special days (according to the calendar, or just according to us), my Dad and I might stop and take a small handful to surprise my Mom with.

I plant my own inadequate garden now, in pots on my apartment balcony, the flowers in defiance of Colorado "spring." A rebellion of color and texture, placed into soil with a prayer to their being able to withstand the see-sawing temperatures, the possibility of hail, the intense winds that can come in the weeks that follow. When they make it, those flowers help rally me. Together we can withstand. I'm so grateful to have been raised by flowers.

1 comment:

  1. One of your loveliest essays yet. The gardens of my life have always provided solace. And each one teaches a new language of connection and love. Hands in the dirt are the best antidepressant.


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