Willing the dirt to do something

I have never been attached to the dirt in my backyard. It is what it is. The dirt doesn’t get in my way and I don’t get in the way of the dirt. We don’t have to talk to each other, I don’t have to feed it, I don’t have to understand it, I don’t have to negotiate with the dirt to listen to me and I don’t have to take the dirt for walks. I expect nothing from the dirt and it expects nothing from me. Until my friend came along and started saying things like, “You should really do something with that dirt. That’s good dirt. I would love to have dirt like that.”
The next morning I went out after breakfast to take a closer look at the dirt. I wasn’t sure how to check the authenticity; I gave it a kick. Nothing. It had never been good at growing grass, and wildflowers that I had thrown at it the year before had given up. To be fair though, there is a fig tree, a peach tree and grape vines that somebody else planted–years ago–that seem to have done all right. It was guilt really that made my next move. Ferdinand could use to know that vegetables don’t just grow in pots. My friend has no dirt of her own, and here I was with it living and breathing in my backyard and passing it by like it was someone else’s grandmother whom I didn’t know, sitting outside the retirement home for air.
My friend and I drove to the plant store and bought the last, saddest looking looking broccoli, kale, lettuce plants, strawberry roots, asparagus roots, raspberry twig, and blueberry twig that were left for the taking after the March rush. There is nothing country about Queens, but apparently there is no fooling around when it comes time to plant. We bought carrot, beet, fennel, swiss chard, red leaf lettuce, hot peppers, peas, beans, sweet peppers, chive, thyme, rosemary, basil and cucumber seeds. We are not fooling around either now. We convinced Jonathan to build planting beds and secure us more, even better dirt to fill them with. Apparently all dirt is not the same; there is a perfect mix you’re after. I gave the calculations to my husband and sent him out into the world to find it. We emptied egg cartons to start the seeds. Mary took half and I took half. I decided to give it everything I’ve got. I remembered that plants in 10th grade biology were significantly improved with lovely music and gentle conversation. I carried my trays of life-to-be outside as the sun came up, and then back in at night. I told them how beautiful they were and how green and gorgeous they would grow to be. I looked at them with the knowledge of hope. I played them concerts of Itzhak Perlman.
My husband is jealous but he’ll forgive me when he crushes his first mother love nourished, sun ripened strawberry on his tongue.

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