Do you have any idea what this plant is? Growing in my back yard (Colorado, US). In the shade–about 3 feet tall. No flowers–at least not yet. Leaves 2-3 inches. Limp, soft, slightly fuzzy.
When my sons were small they romped in the yard on summer nights. Little legs pumped hard on the swing hung on the limb of an Ash Tree. They played with cars and trucks around the knotted roots that broke through the grass. Babies yet–all of five and four years.
One summer night, I let them play into dusk. I went inside to catch up on chores–flitting from window to window to make sure all was well. The screen door had not banged, no squabbles erupted, so the reward was a little extra play before bedtime rituals. I visited them under the tree—taking in the small city they had built with blocks of wood and sticks and bricks. “Fifteen more minutes,” I said, “you may play until I turn the porch light on.”
I clicked the old switch by the doorjamb, illuminating the darkening yard. My younger son came inside shoes untied, screen door slamming. “Where’s your brother?” He shrugged his answer. Alarm rose in my mom’s heart. I called his name into the night—ran to the back door doing the same. I ran around the yard—under trees to the street. Calling. No son. Anger…then cold fear hardened.
Younger son in tow, I ran up the sidewalk—out into the street looking one way then another. A few houses away, a small form made its way up the hill. The small prodigal dawdled slowly, swinging a loop of rope. Now and then he looked back over his shoulder. I ran toward him, “What were you…never leave yard…scared to death,” I gasped at him. I repeated, “What were you doing?” Swinging the limp rope fragment, he pointed up at the sky over his shoulder, “I was trying to catch the moon.”
All running, words, fear, anger whooshed away. A fat moon rose on the horizon–I had not even noticed, but the child with sky eyes had seen, and he ran trying hard to capture its wonder.
These are the new ones—sisters Charlotte and Emily. Named, of course, for the Bronte sisters who gifted us with Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Char and Em are mine to keep—a birthday gift from a son (with my guidance). They bring me joy and delight, scratches, purrs, and tiny hisses at the dog.
The rustlings of spring begin in winter—a warmer day—the smell of damp earth. I long for tulips and nesting birds. A grown son comes—hands behind his back with the shy grin of his childhood. He holds out three, bright tulips, and I see, clenched in his fist, the wonder of spring.
Sadly, in early fall, we lost the Old Dog, Cerveza. He laid his head on a pillow, looked around one last time for his boys, and went to everlasting sleep.
Just days ago, Clive went to sleep in a laundry basket beside my bed and never awakened. I miss his orneriness and his comfort and courage.