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  • Writer's pictureNan Harvey

My Yard

Updated: Jan 31, 2020

I had pretensions at one point that this was going to be "a garden" but after this summer, this fall, the summer before, the fall and winter before that, I don't have those airs anymore. I didn't go out onto the point all of September. I couldn't. It made me too sad to see all the wilted, drying plants. None fancy or special but special to me, things I've brought here from earlier homes, things I had taken with me from home to home, things given to me, things that had meaning for me, things that I discovered under the vines here, but not fancy things: a hydrangea from Columbia, Boston ivy that had been clipped from an ancestor's grave when I visited with Mamma, the Japanese painted grass found here strangled with vines, freed, transplanted to Maryland then brought back. Grass! Dying! Wiegela as old, older than the house, heirlooms. The burning bush from Gwynnbrook. Ive had that for decades. Now wilted and I wonder if dead.

The last day of rain, of real rain, was the first day of June. I remember it, dry even then. The corn was starting to curl up, keeping its leaves from too much sun exposure, from desiccation. Most of October trying to revive the seared spent remainders, standing with the hose pointed at the base of a trunk, in the morning before the sun baked. I don't have to weed, the weeds are dead. The neighbors talking about "When the rain comes, it's gonna run right off, the ground's so hard and dry." "Wish there'd at least be a tropical storm that would park off the coast, we'd get rain then." "Pray for rain."

I'm swimming upstream, in dust, waist deep dust, fine, in every pore, my eyes, I can't see, I can't breathe, it's clogging my ears, the chiggers are crawling up my legs, biting me the dust is caking to the oozing itching burning chigger sores. I look through eyes crusty with sandy dust at a ring of deer ticks fine pinpoints with red irritated rashes around my waist, the biting flies buzzing around my head. I'm swatting, flailing at the sound never hitting, never able to kill them. The mosquitoes, the heat, the sun, my sweat drying in the incessant wind blowing hot across my arms the dust sticking to the insect repellent, the sunscreen. The dust in clouds. Waves of humid dust.

Obsessively I check weather forecasts. No rain today, not again, no rain today and now teasing us yet again with 60 percent forecast for tomorrow always tomorrow, at the best, the summer, the fall 10-day forecasts with no rain probability greater than 20%. We get excited when 40% is forecast. We dream of rain. We have rain barrels long since drained dry, collecting instead papery leaves dry curled like the fingers of a corpse. Another forecast for sunny and breezy. "Need for watering: High. Very high."

No, no dream now of a garden.

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