We recently did our landscaping, and as I watched the earth turn over, I thought about… therapy. And me.
A field of weeds and wildflowers and patches of grass I am, showing up to you at the beginning.
My muck covered up. My earthiness concealed with a spray of greenery.
Some semblance of growth and function, but under the surface, there are cracks. And stones. And undesirable shoots poking their way out..
The weeds need to come out first. You pull at them, gently. I wince, but I do not break. We pull more. Then treat them more aggressively. You survey the rest of the landscape and shake your head, almost imperceptibly. I sense that my shrubbery is not adequate.
We need to till the earth. The hoe is in your hand. You don’t go fast, but you turn the very soil over from under my feet. The ground gives way, and soon I’m scrambling for a piece of terra firma, searching for a square foot that isn’t just a mush of moist soil in which I sink into and lose my balance.
Here, a rock. You point. Gnarled roots. You keep prodding me on, hoe in hand, as I watch you. You eye me meaningfully. I go to my knees and dig with my bare fingers to discover everything faulty about my turf.
I chafe my raw skin against your hoe. My knuckles are bleeding. But I dig on. Earthworms make a slimy showing and my innards revolt. My nail beds are encrusted with soil, my fingers are grimy and rough.
But it’s worth it, a voice whispers. Soon, there will be new grass. Flowers, even! Growth. Beauty.
A healthy landscape that needs only water and sun to flourish.
You pack up your hoe, and... ”See you next week.”
Again and again and again.
Week after week after week.
Always in the midst of digging. Always before more than a sprinkling of seeds can be scattered through the battered terrain.
And so, I stay there, feet sunken in the mud, surveying the field. I stare in a haze at the wreckage that is my turf with only a vague idea on how to plant life on it.
I’m at the mercy of the elements. I sweat through the heat of the beating sun.
Then a downpour descends. Thunder roars. Lightning crackles. Rivulets of mud flow up to me, and I’m deep in this sodden mess.
And spring has passed me by.