Last summer I planted my first garden in my backyard. Some veggies fared well:  broccoli, tomatoes, collards, string beans, basil. The rest either started and ended quickly (cucumbers), or didn’t grow at all (lettuce, mesculan greens, chard), or were stumpy little orange nubbins (carrots). This year is different. My upstairs neighbors and I decided to do this together. They moved in mid summer so my pathetic first garden was already almost over.  This year we are a team.

Mid April we started the the digging, the tilling the plotting and the buying. By the end of April, we had our garden. We all began planting furiously.  Seedlings and seeds, marking off spots, planting as much as we could fit. Name a veggie, we planted it. On the other side of the yard, I threw a bunch of seeds someone sent me for a butterfly garden.  I want this to be Silas’ special spot so we are going to scatter some of his ashes in there,  too.

Every day, my neighbor Michael and I meet in the yard and admire our work. We talk about the new little sprouts, and discuss various recent additions. It’s the highlight of my day. I love going outside my back door, to my own huge backyard, to see what I have growing.

This is because last summer, along with my garden, I also had a baby boy growing within me. When I think about last spring/summer, I think about being pregnant, my garden and laying on the couch watching the Mets (and we all know how that ended).  The warm weather keeps reminding me of what I don’t have this spring. I don’t have Silas and I don’t have new life inside me.

What has now happened, is that I can’t stop buying tomato plants and herbs. I am obsessed.  I have 8 tomato plants right now, and I’m sure that will not be the end of it. I stand outside my door every day looking for that growth. That new life that I don’t have in my arms, that I don’t have inside me.  I need it.

I have nothing to nurture except my plants and my cats (& my husband?)  Instead of Silas, it’s Bandha who wakes us at 5:30am (he wants to go outside) and it’s Chumby that sleeps in between us (purring louder than a garbage truck) in one of our arms every single morning.

I’m sure everyone in my life is so over me talking about the cats at this point. The thing is, you all just might have to humor me and pretend to be interested when I tell you how big my tomatoes have gotten.   Don’t worry, they don’t spit up.

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