The spring is humble in the prairies — she does not boast, nor does she shine. Instead offering a gentle, cold wind. Air for the metallic, uneasy blossoms to grow within. Every so often from the garden ground will sprout — the landed lighthouse! A simple vessel springing up from the soil — like a lost, wandering watercraft. She does not truly know her place, nor does she care.
i. GREEN SPRING
The light spins, the curvature matching the pull of every newborn flower from wind, back and forth. There is no sea for the landed lighthouse — the one who decided to grow in my first garden. Now and then, her light shines so brightly upon the jagged hills near ahead, I often mistake them for the ocean’s unexplained rock formations, the sun rises above.
First moving here and making the prairies my home, infinitely small, I found there was nothing more loud and alive than the beating heart of the weekday morning. The unforgiving snow has all melted, intrepid with a river-flowing pulse dancing with the rhythm of the still-cold wind. There’s a busy, melodic symphony of the colossal machines on the roads, they bleat and mutter!
I woke up to pearl-blue skies, dead blonde grass and faded mountaintops. I woke up to dancing branches, the songs of city-birds and barbershops. There’s beauty in the average, perhaps the statistician’s least favourite truth. There’s wheat fields and airport hangars where angels fly as high as youth. The hope found here is saturated with new ideas, this new time we inhabit has dawned. The hope of holding her close — to remember how great things are — before they’re gone.
And the unmoving grass, still frozen — from the night before, gently unmelting. There are the kind and generous mountain pine, providing a home for the wanderlust creatures. I recognize and love them, now. And the flying feathers — the impossible glides in cobalt skies, they croon and chant!
There is ease in a garden of soil, for young seeds — which have yet to germinate.
Do not worry about their future. They are already too concerned with how comfortable the rich, dark, damp soil is — soother. There is a thick layer of sleepy mirth and only there — can life begin. An isolated island of peaceful rest, where the pale blue world slowly stops Her spin. The youthful giants — of budding plants and trees, only relax underneath the wind’s gentle breeze.
ii. PEACH SUMMER
White shine on the red wheelbarrow, the painted line as cool as the peachskin kissing my lips in daydream thoughts. Imported from British Columbia, driven across the provincial border in a 1977 navy blue Cadillac truck with that Hawaiian girl still dancing on the dashboard, paint stripped from the Sun.
Trying to say the words out loud, but the peachflesh is still there, brilliantly sweet. I cannot stop myself from eating the words, having to wait their turn in line, so cold in my mouth. The growing pit in my stomach is heavy. The red wheelbarrow is heavy, I grab one of the brown handles with my free hand, pretending to begin the needless garden work which the past season has loomed over me, the word count lost.
The lasting summer heat overstaying its welcome on my brow as I inch closer towards the soil in my backyard. The dirt shouldn’t make me drool — remind me of crumbly brownie cake, but it does. Maybe I will start to dream about this red wheelbarrow being filled to the absolute brim with more B.C. peaches and yesteryear leaves. Maybe I will not remind myself of how many wrinkled pits there would be.
Sticky and useless, I cannot grow peach trees in this prairie climate, after all. Taking my thoughts away from the drooping chore list in front of me, all the things she wished I did when she was still here and waiting, while I was inside on a wooden chair and working on words, not work. Not knowing there would be a last time to this, a last time when I would tell her, “no, I am not going outside, not doing garden work”, but instead sitting by myself eating peaches and wishing to recite the forgotten broken poetry, so inevitable. Maybe I will not remind myself of how many wrinkled pits I created.
The green weeds are stubborn as they fight for their life, gripping onto the underneath of the delicious dirt, dead worm-food for the living. Wishing they were beautiful enough to us to stop the reincarnation cycle, taking deep nourishment from under that still-summery Sun. Overstaying their welcome to this absurd thing — this life — not calculable and without measure, one day coming into existence. Perhaps to one day truck-drive from province-to-province carrying produce for those who have forgotten their own soul in place of nature. Maybe I will not remind myself of how many wrinkled pits engulf me.
iii. BRUNETTE AUTUMN
It begins with the fall apples, first light then heavy — budding greens slowly becoming hardened reds. Drooping the busy branches of many autumn trees who have yellowed and oranged their way towards asleep.
Her reflection is almost visible — bright eyes staring back at me — scarlet blush covering cheeks. Wondering how much longer I’ll be able to remember her face. These star-studded fruits of labour — artistic outpouring — for the plants who, otherwise, sit silently in solitude. There is an urge to grab one — to grope the velvety skin of mundane produce. In spite of the innumerable rubies already at my feet.
Sea of red on top of a freshly minted garden lawn — careful not to step on them, she got upset when I stepped on them, watching them become as brown as their motherly branches, parting like Moses before the burning bush.
The heaviness is theirs for a reason, as though gravity was invented for these fruits alone. One word racing through the mind as I inch closer and closer to touch. Grief. Towards picking one, ripping off a gentle stem violently.
Wondering to myself why I’m not inside a thick field of white chrysanthemums, or perhaps encircled by dim candlelight dressed in black, broken columns and weeping angels. More time has passed than I have realised — it began with the apple blossoms months ago. Now, no flowers are here, I am two seasons too late, these blossoms have decided to become something else.
iv. BLUE WINTER
The keys perfectly sink into a metallic clunk in the ceramic bowl beside the front door as I come home, swirling around the edges. It’s dark out, it’s been dark out for hours. The time of year again: The tilt of our pale blue world changes so many things. Taking a moment for me to take everything off, there are so many things. It’s calmer now.
The ritualised toque, black gloves, puffy coat stuffed with the featherflesh of a thousand birds who would have migrated somewhere better than this, had they been allowed to stay alive. The leather boots, the pink hairband, the thick-rimmed glasses with non-prescription lenses smudging easily, slowly blinding me towards this darkness for good.
The meat was already taken out of the freezer this morning, it was still dark. Endlessly bleeding itself into a puddle on the kitchen counter. I forgot to use a plate, or even a paper towel.
The furnace needs to be turned on, but only for a reluctant hour: I can’t waste money on the luxury of heat, and I’m not lucky enough for the stale air to alchemize into carbon monoxide. Turning on the television to be greeted with the snow of white noise: The reddening cable bill, nobody watches the black box anymore, anyways. That’s fine — the dollar-store fairy lights are still hard-tacked to my wall to keep good company instead.
I don’t need her to make me dinner while humming church songs, I don’t need to vent about my day to her while trying on new nail polish. Take stock of everything here, the cold fingertips and beautiful hoarfrost killing the garden outside. I don’t need God, I am no longer small. It’s calmer now.