In Search of My Mother’s Gardens – Rachael Ikins

Mom in the garden

Brave & Reckless

Most of my ‘mom’ memories:
Reading in the garden.
Attacking dandelions with a Valkurie’s fury, a tool she loved just for that. Every house she lived in she planted gardens.

Annual mulch ceremony,
Burlap sacks of cocoa hulls or ground corncobs in a redolent heap.
My dad hoisted one into her cart.
As days passed she worked her way with coffee can and cart
while I was at school
each seedling comforted, safe from weeds and summer sun.

Not from the neighbor’s chickens.
I still hear her wail, all the baby zinnias, carnage and crying.

Autumn frost prediction,
another ceremony: bringing in the tender annuals. I came home from school to find every available end- table and counter corner peppery with the orange and red fragrance. Years later I learned marigolds are offerings to the goddess, Kali, the bringer of life and destruction. Maybe my mother was a goddess.

She…

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