I kept finding myself staring out the opened windows at the vegetative decay that blanketed most of my yard, depressed by the graveyard of plants lingering after last year's efforts.
You see, I never managed to go outside and clean up the gardens once the first and second frosts hit. I was so busy trying to hold myself together, to navigate this new single mother-homedweller life without falling apart in front of my children, that so many things just fell to the wayside. Then it started to snow and didn't stop until mid-February, the evidence of my neglect buried under icy piles of street-stained white, only to be rediscovered even worse for the wear come March.
But on this otherwise non-notable day as I stared at the dessicated vestiges of hope I had planted (or at least the appearance of hope) it became clear that it was my job, and mine alone, to clear out the debris.
So, I did.
I went out in a tempered fervor, tearing away all things yellowed and browned, barely checking for regrowth at the roots because it just needed to go, it looked dead and it needed to go. Withered buds and spoiled edibles scattered the stagnant earth and they, too, were snatched up and disposed of with barely a thought. I pulled and tore at and dug up and tossed aside all means of matter, not quite remembering what it all was, what the things had once meant in the greater aesthetic scheme of things.
And underneath the brush, tiny shootlings were beginning to poke through the dried-out mulch, taking my breath and my heart by such surprise.
You'd be surprised what's thriving underneath the deadened surface of last year's spoils.
Slowly, over the past month, I've watched my yard come back to life -- plants I was sure I'd finally lost have new shoots, new leaves. Bulbs have propagated and fleshed out the once sparse areas in which I planted them. I even cleared out the raised garden beds and began again over Spring Break, enlisting the kids in picking out vegetables and with their newly-acquired gifts of gardening supplies, we spent the day together, outside, placing our hopes and our dreams into tiny, evenly-spaced holes, watering them with love and encouragement.
There is an Audrey Hepburn quote that goes along the lines of Planting a garden is believing in tomorrow. Last year, I didn't know if I'd get to see another spring come to life here at L'Casa, and after clearing out all of the remnants of the sunny seasons before, I wasn't even sure there was anything left to surface.
But the Tabatha of two, three, five, seven-almost-eight years ago, she believed in tomorrow. Time and time over and over again, she made the choice to believe -- in this house, in this home, in this family, in herself.
This may not be what she envisioned -- I'm actually incredibly confident it's not -- but I'm grateful that the girl I used to be believed in tomorrow so fiercely that she practically reached into the future to touch the woman I've come and remind her that there is always beauty to be found, there is always hope, there is always new sprouts and new roots to look forward to, you just have to clear out the remnants of what came before to see it.
So, this year I will again choose to believe in the future, and trust it will take me, take us, take this, exactly where it needs to go.