Erik pulled me to the corner garden, “We need to talk.”

I knew his complaint before the words spilled out of his mouth. Weeds plague our entire yard, but the southeast flowerbed is a veritable hotspot of thorny, ugly squatters. The ground cover is infested with crab grass, tufted spiky invaders choke the daisies and bold strands of morning glory twist up the stems of my lovely, hopeful Asian lilies.

“It’s got to go.” he decreed with shovel in hand, “we need to rip it all out, spray it with masses of weed killer and start over.” He spoke sternly, but looked at me with pleading in his eyes. We’ve talked about this before. I can’t stand to rip out all my lovely perennials and have persuaded him in the past that we can just keep pulling the wretched weeds.

But even I, in my stubborn little heart, can see a lost cause, “You’re right.” I replied. “Tear it out.”

Relief flooded his lovely features, “We’ll keep the roses and the bushes and the trees, of course,” he assured me. “but the rest has to go. And next year, or the year after that when we’ve conquered the weeds you can plant new flowers—bigger, brighter flowers, unencumbered by all these nasty parasites.”

So today, Stefan (whom Erik challenged to complete the task while he’s out of town this week) grabbed shovel and pick and a little brother to assault the garden. They ripped everything out—good and bad—leaving a bare skeleton of bushes and trees. I mourned my stargazers and dianthus a bit, but couldn’t help but admire the rich, empty soil so full of possibility. What will I plant there in future years? Something wonderful.



My mom is doing well, thanks so much for your kind comments and emails. My parents have been wintering in San Diego for the past two years and they are remaining there for the first round of treatments. Usually, my dad flies in and out of California every week tending to business in Utah, Texas, Wisconsin and elsewhere.

But now, he is planted firmly at home, tending to my mother round-the-clock, administering 3 injections a day, monitoring a half-dozen medications and sleeping in two hour shifts. My mom says she’s not in pain and is happily losing weight. Because the medications make her feel foggy they spend their days looking through photos, reminiscing and laughing at old stories. My dad says it is a time of exquisite sweetness; that he can scarcely remember another season of such happiness and peace.

Nearly every day I’ve been chatting with my mother and a bit with my siblings too. I can feel the care and concern of aunts and uncles and cousins that I’ve scarcely seen in decades.

And in every corner of my family garden, I can feel other, ancient weeds being yanked out and burned to ash; and the ground is rich and empty and full of possibility.

May 20, 2009
May 22, 2009



  1. sarah

    May 21, 2009

    glad to hear your mom is doing well- I meant to ask you about her when we chatted- forgive me for not mentioning it.
    weeds, weeds, weeds. . . they are everywhere in my life. If I could JUST clean out one part and start fresh it would feel so refreshing. Thanks for inspiring me.

  2. Christie

    May 21, 2009

    I’m glad your mom is doing good. Interesting the blessings trials can bring.

    And that picture of Mary – OH MY GOSH. Gorgeous. I am in love with it.

  3. m_and_m

    May 22, 2009

    I love you, and your writing.

    And I know I keep saying the same things, but what else is there to say? I just savor what you have said and appreciate it.

    life is so interesting.

  4. Annie

    May 22, 2009

    What a lovely analogy. (Although I was distractedly thinking about my real-life, actual weedy gardens and thinking I should start over again, too)

  5. Denise

    May 22, 2009

    beautiful, like the author

Comments are closed.