This journal mentions breasts, so if that offends you, move on.
I’ve been thinking about how I grew up around gardens and how important it is to impart that to the next generation.
I was remembering how I used to poke fun at the women I saw in their gardens when I was growing up. Their husbands would make themselves quick snacks before daybreak, and would head out to the barns to milk the cows and do whatever was needed before a big breakfast around 8:30 a.m. Their wives would tend to the children and around 7 a.m. would walk out into the garden to pick vegetables and fruit to serve for breakfast.
I’d see them when I was on my way to early-morning sports practices (my family was from the city, and didn’t do anything but sports or go to a grocery store early in the morning). They would bring a baby strapped to them sometimes, they’d have baskets or aprons bulging with tomatoes or apples. They’d be wearing their husbands’ old button-down shirts wrapped around them like kimonos, with aprons or even old ties tying them together. Some would be wearing their husbands’ old barn boots with the steel toe, as protection from the copperheads in the area. Sometimes you’d see them with salt shakers chasing slugs after a rainstorm, and almost always someone would be more worried about the food or a baby than her own appearance, and while leaning over beans or tarragon or peppers, a long, weathered boob would swing out of the kimono-shirt. It was quite the sight for me to snicker at when I was 8.
Fast forward to yesterday morning, where we finally came home to our own garden. It had rained for days straight, apparently, and in some spots the weeds were up to my thighs. The four-year-old followed me around, both of us in our pajamas, while I filled cornmeal slug traps and chased down the slugs in the pumpkins and the peppers with a box of salt. We kept walking around to the front of the house, where we saw a crowd had gathered. A family of turkeys that we’ve spotted in our yard had come back, and were trying to cross the road. I picked up my son and I walked to the street, and held up cars while the turkeys passed by.
I saw a little girl point at me, not the turkeys, from her living room window. And then I realized, I looked just like the ladies in the kimono shirts … bright green rubber clogs to protect my feet from the garden snakes, dressed in pajamas, holding a little boy and a box of salt and standing in a too-thin T-shirt where you could see exactly what my weathered boobs were up to.
I waved, and glanced at her family’s garden. It’s a city garden, just shrubs and a few self-sustaining flowering plants on an expanse of lawn. She’ll point to me as an example of a gardener more worried about the peppers and pumpkins than her own appearance someday.
Or maybe she’s traumatized by the crazy half-naked lady walking around with a box of salt and bright-green clown shoes. Either is plausible.