After dinner each evening, Philip, Milo, and I have begun a routine of spending a bit of time outside in the cool. The fresh air is good for all of us, especially a certain baby who sleeps better with some crisp oxygen in his lungs.
The other night, we strolled around the garden to look at the compost pile and the fence Philip mended when the neighbor’s cows broke through to get our decrepit corn stalks. We needed to make some decisions about the pile – how we were going to access it with the new tractor, how many square feet of the garden were worth the sacrifice, what kind of fencing we needed. But I was distracted.
Behind us, the potatoes that had gone undug this summer because of Milo’s arrival were now sprouting after Philip tilled the ground . . . a few dozen new plants, just days before we are due for our first frost.
I felt so sad for these beauties, sad that the cold of the winter will kill them before they can produce. Sad for the squash and pumpkins that have pushed from the earth in these unseasonably warm October days. Less sad for the ornamental corn that refuses to give up.
Sometimes, moments come too late. Sometimes, we wait too long to try, and sometimes, the days of life keep us from the timeliness of certain experiences. Sometimes, we flourish at the wrong moments. Sometimes, frost will kill all that has sprung with such hopefulness.
But sometimes, in those rare golden days, we are graced with a gift that felt it would never come – that amazing job, a partner long awaited, a baby who has learned to shout into your life when you are almost 44 years old.
Tonight, these shoots of hope will die back in all likelihood, and I will be sad for their passing. And still, I will remember the promise that nothing is wasted – not pain, not young life, not even a late-sprung potato. It all is made whole and well. Every bit.