A Tire Swing Story is a bite-sized "imagining" inspired by an object I discover while wandering. It could be a curbside trash gem or a message sprayed on a wall. A lost mitten, or an antique store find. Anything goes. I photograph the object and post them together, the story and its inspiration. There will be a new story every Monday and Wednesday. On Fridays, I'll discuss writing, life, love, and coffee. (In no particular order and maybe all at once.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

May likes to look at roots. 

Sometimes she uses her green plastic shovel to dig things up out of the ground. Other times, she just pulls. 

In the backyard, she is a menace. Last spring, her mother had to replant the annuals twice. In June, May wrenched out carrots and beets before their time. Her mother was furious about the ruined crop. Once you pull something out, you can't put it back. Most of the time. 

There are lots of reasons May likes roots. The smell of damp earth interests her and she enjoys shaking the plants and feeling soil spill onto her hands and arms. But mostly, May just wants to see what's down there in the ground. 

There are roots hiding everywhere. 

At first, they said that her older brother Dom was going to be okay. Even he ruffled her hair and said: "Oh, May-bell, I am a champ-pee-on," which made her giggle. 

But then they started using other words when they thought she wasn't there. Big words like "Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome," and hard words like "only a matter of time." 

When May heard that, she went out to the middle of the yard. She got her green shovel and two buckets. It had rained the night before and the ground was wet. 

She started with the grass. The delicate blades came up easily. She placed handfuls of green into her bucket. Then there was mud. May attacked the mud with her shovel. It was cold and grey and smelled like pennies. She dug and dug, and kept digging even when she couldn't see through her tears. 

These grownups have all these words like growing things, with roots hiding beneath. May wants to pull all them up, but she doesn't know how.

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