Notes on a garden, which is to say on a life

You wake up so early. 4:50. The cats. Soft steps and then, closer, a tearing. The curtain above your nightstand. It’s fine, you think. You turn to the right and see that your husband is stirring, will make them breakfast. Small blessings. Ten feet, then—eight, smaller and light. You think of how you like to joke, Practice; night feedings. You feel your husband ease back into bed, the covers tightening across your shoulders, and you turn over again, to the left. Fold into something small. Close your eyes.

You open them and glance at your phone, and it’s already (only) 5:23. You read an e-mail, set the phone down. You’re half-asleep, and your mind is ticking through the real process of awakening—the bathroom, the walk downstairs, the lifting of blinds. And so you do those things. You look out the window as the coffee starts, and there is so much fog. You can barely see past the yard. You rest your eyes there, then. Everything is green. You’ve let the grass go too long, and the flowerbeds need care—pruning, weeding, re-planting. Whatever it is that needs to be done for a garden. (Which is? You wonder.) Your husband said last week, as you crouched over so many tendrils, puzzled, “Isn’t anything you don’t like a weed?” You’re not sure that’s right, but then, maybe.

You make a list for the day. Water the hanging plants (impatiens, not impatients, you’ve learned)—one so withered from the sun, you’re not sure it’ll live; but you’ll hope. Mow the lawn. You don’t linger too long on that. Maybe you’ll pick up the sticks. So many; the rain. Find food for the roses out front. (Something they need, you’ve learned. Something organic.) You look inside the cabinets, see baking powder, apple cider vinegar; you’ll need to go to the store. You will. You wonder why the hydrangeas haven’t bloomed. (They should have, by now, right?) You’ll want to bring something from the garden indoors. A few roses, clipped, in a mason jar. You’ll place them somewhere high. The cats.

6:43. You’re here with your husband, in the kitchen. “More coffee?” he asks, and you shake your head, No. It’s raining again. Maybe the yard work will have to wait, till the afternoon, till tomorrow. You peer into the refrigerator, see carrots, think, I’ll make those muffins again. You’re hungry, after all. Your cats traipse in, sit beside you, look through the sliding glass door. You do, too. The fog is thick but the sky is lighter now—like an elephant? Something like that. It’s so quiet, only the birds. You set down your list, close your eyes, don’t think too far ahead. Just. Here I am, in this house, with the person I love on this still Sunday morning. And that’s enough.

You set out the mixing bowl. Crack an egg. Stir.

For the curious and the hungry:

Carrot Oatmeal Greek Yogurt Muffins
Yields twelve.
Best served with coffee and blooms, preferably au lit.

• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose {or whole wheat} flour
• 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
• 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 2 large eggs
• 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
• 2 tbsp maple syrup {or honey}
• 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 cup grated carrot
• 1/2 cup raisins {optional}

1. Preheat your oven to 350F and prepare a muffin pan by lining the cavities with paper liners or greasing them with cooking spray or oil. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until they become slightly frothy before whisking in the yogurt, maple syrup, almond milk, and vanilla. Mix until well combined before folding in the grated carrots.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing gently until just combined. Add raisins, if desired.
5. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups, filling almost to the top.
6. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for ~5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

*Recipe adapted from Amanda’s at Running with Spoons.

2 thoughts on “Notes on a garden, which is to say on a life

  1. Beautiful. I felt as if I were there with you on your Sunday morning. And now inspired to make the muffins.

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