It’s been almost 8 years since she moved away.
This friend, this landscape architect, this dreamer of garden and sunlight’s white stroll.
She is a designer, a planter, a grower of things.
And this gardener, she grew, her arms spread through windows, towards summer's white light, her heart unfurled through wooden carved doors, the fullness of family spilling over lawn and purple tendril Lenten rose.
My littlest was nearing two months old, the deep quiet sleep of windshield wiper eyelids. And we stood in her driveway, her hands cupping my cheeks, the stone quiet with words caught in forever. It was early June, the day was kind, holding back its deep humidity sink. The intrusion of a fallen acorn, one severed leaf barreling in sea saw formation to the ground. And her hand held every morning we ever shared, coffee cups curled around thumb, thick baby knees trolling warmed sunlit floors, the burnished smile of a mother’s knowing, the tipped forehead, the full crescent shaped tears that reclined in her bathtub eyes.
And the echo of emptiness as I drove away, the isolation taking hold, the words tucked into letters and phone calls, the faceless crutch of distance. A hand clutched, lifting roots from the warmth of soft soil, the pull, the tug, the empty pot wait.
And there have been so many phone calls, the marathon sofa pile of calf and knee, the grocery line pivot, the meandering of food aisles just to talk a bit longer, the tears caught in the holes meant for voice.
Last weekend I boarded a plane and found her waiting, her face squeezed between chauffeur nametags and folded hands perched beneath eyes, a beating reunion heart.
And I sunk back into the thick black soil of her friendship and felt the nourishment of her eyes looking back at me.
And I nestled close to her girls, once cradled between elbow and folded thigh, now long stalk legs and berry lips. I watched them as mother billowed above them, spreading her words with cursive smile approval, hips leaning into sinks, the mascara wand tilted over open eyes. The soft brush of femininity across cheeks and squinted foreheads.
We took walks between softball games, found paths to keep our secrets.
And I felt all of the wandering, the turn and spin, the over the shoulder gaze back to the girls we once were, rubbing knees between naps and softening new foot stumbles.
And there she was, beside me again.
So I stayed there, under little sister blanket, and let her long shadow pass over all of the places still too bright to peer into.
I once read about an orchid. An orchid wrapping its roots around the sturdy trunk of a tree, detached from the earthy ground soil. About the days and weeks and months a flower can survive without rain. Roots without soil. Blooms without rain.
And her presence, the sweet content fill of the glass. Her words, her flared southern accent, the tight gut roll of laughter release, a drink. A savored thirst quenched.
Sometimes, a person can't see their own beauty. To hold a flower in your hand, the lifted chest breath of awe. Right there. Right in front of you.
She hides from the lens. So I catch her in her daughter's reflections, let her mother stand inside her fainting blue eyes.
We find our way to the botanical garden, and it feels like an artist's brush finding her paint, the fine hairs of seed dipped in sun and shade.
A gentle apparition of witness, hovering inside her shadows, her back against the sunlight, she introduces me to each flower by name.
And she was the first place I went to when I needed a picture of motherhood painted against the sky.
The harvesting hand around a ripe heart, gently pulling the fruit from the tree, the speckled sheath of seed on land, the empty pot container longing, the crinkled aluminum imprint of soil between wrinkles of worry.
The mustard seed faith and rosemary warmth,
the geranium scent of awakening.
And sometimes all you need is someone to stab the ground with protection, place a marker over your emotion, the unidentified stamen of anxiety, left too long to wander alone through the tall wild grass.
She is the girl in the forest, made of leaf, stone, petal and thirst, frail roots growing beneath her, stretching out past the dark tunnels of growth. Her sunken hands, open palm sunrises from the ground.
And the miracle of rebirth,
these open bloom awakenings on winter's edge.
When the conditions are right,
when the sky has forgiven the sun for her blaze, the warmth without burning sting, the gentle sprinkle of a morning rain, rolling water footprints on soft ground, sheltered air, winds silenced by an afternoon rest.
A flower blooms. It grows without roots.
I hope you can see your beauty, sweet bloom.
The kind held in someone's hand just before the helium hold of a first kiss, before fondness gives way to admiration, damp stems wrapped in paper towel gifts.
And her friendship, her motherhood, pruned the parts of me that needed deep mending, a deep pull from the knees kind of tug. And she laid soil rich with understanding, grace, the watering can of forgiveness around this wobbly stem.
There is the fragrant scent of girlhood born from the deep roots of a gardener mother. Fingers through hair, exploring lost tangles, the heavy weight of heart on tilted shoulder kind of love.
And there is something inside these potted wide eyes.
Roots without soil.
Blooms without rain.
P.S. We leave for Sweden in two days! Have a wonderful rest of June and a lovely Fourth of July! XO
Linking up with Heather at Just Write:)