Tonight getting out of the car after visiting Ila at the retirement home, the moon glows through the clouds over the grain bins and the windmill, and it smells like pigs. A man's work left behind for his son and then who? Three generations now. And I stand there too long making patterns out of the tree branches--a kite a cross a shovel a hand extended. "Mommy. Mommy."
There was a man, Merle--Ila's husband, born in a house where the garden sits now. Tomorrow he would have been 92. I found out yesterday that he passed away a week ago. And there was a stillness there in the tree as I stood with the smell of his legacy, his father's too, not a bad smell at all, really. And our lives aren't separate. If anyone ever tells you they are, they don't know how much of our love and work takes place for years and years after we've died. It goes on in me, in you. Strangers are working in you now--the apple tree planted 130 years ago. The cathedral that took over 100 years to build. The cobblestone streets in Seward. Merle's fields and pigs. This house. I put together some Rhubarb and Apricot jam we made in August from the things growing here on the place, a couple of colorful dishcloths I'd crocheted while watching Westerns, a card asking that the His love comfort her now. "He was so quiet. He was like my mother-in-law, so quiet, and a saint. I suppose I talked enough for two."
I will do my best to pull the weeds, plaster the cracks, prune the trees, plant a few new ones, keep the soil rich where you were born almost 100 years ago. The apples are sweet. The ground is good.