I woke up thinking about my vegetable garden. It’s a mess. The cilantro was a brilliant flash in the pan but now there are only brown, stubby reeds left. The lettuce seems to be reaching for the sky — tall shoots with buds of flowers. It really doesn’t look like lettuce anymore, but more like a wild science experiment gone awry. The red onions are peeking up out of the ground (are they supposed to do that?) but the tall parts look like the green end of chives knocked to the ground by gale winds. There are a few zucchini to pick, as well as some cherry tomatoes — and the red chard seems to be the happiest of the veggies with beautiful, big green leaves lined in brilliant red veins.
So much of the garden needs to be dug up, I think, and that’s when my brain goes down the rabbit hole . . .
We dig up gardens, but we dig in the dirt. We can certainly dig with our hands, but shovels and spades make the work easier. Critters dig out there all the time, including my yellow lab.
I dig around my purse for a piece of gum; I can also dig for information — but not in my purse.
We dig into curriculum and into conversation — but we dig around for answers.
I might give my husband a dig in the ribs — especially if he isn’t digging the concert.
And now I’m thinking about how the prepositions make or break the connotation and I remember the preposition song my girls were taught to the tune of “All Around the Mulberry Bush” — and how the words fit, but sometimes they just don’t and you have to force the phrase. I hate having to force a phrase.
Forcing a phrase reminds me that my EL kids, my English learners, must grasp the actual meaning of the prepositions, but also the subtle flavor of each. Suddenly I’m thinking about idioms and how idiotic one feels when trying to think them in a foreign language. Even native speakers can find them challenging. If you have a chip on your shoulder, you might rub someone the wrong way and end up singing the blues. No wonder some of the kids in my class sometimes stare off with glazed eyes.
Glazed eyes are not like glazed donuts, but that’s how the mind works. The thought of a freshly baked donut and its dripping sweetness makes me think of Saturday mornings when I was little and Mom would run to the bakery for all kinds of sugary treats. We’d sit around the kitchen table for hours, with sticky fingers, talking story. It’s one of my favorite childhood memories.
Childhood flies by, though . . . and my girls are on the verge of flying from the nest. We’re still a ways from our empty nest, but there are signs that our adolescents have much bigger worlds to discover and are spreading their wings. They soar for a while (actually, they take the car and drive for miles), far from my watchful gaze, and then touch back down here to be refueled. Sometimes it’s really just food, but it’s also for a hug or a chat. Sometimes it’s just the familiarity of home that draws them back. I’m grateful for that since I’m not ready for that much quiet around here.
Quiet. I LOVE my quiet mornings when I get to sit and think and write. Yesterday I thought about how writing helps me focus and corral my thoughts — but here I am today, letting them wander around the keyboard, like free spirits. With a whole day ahead of me, there’s time to dig in to one idea . . . for now, though, I’m happy to just dig around to see if there are any treasures. I’ll let you know if I find one.