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.)

Monday, May 14, 2012


When the air was warm enough, I bought packets of seeds from the garden center. Calendula. Yarrow. Morning Glory. I didn't know what they were, but I liked the names.

I bought some dirt. Too much dirt, I realized later. The bag was almost as big as a child. Still, I hefted it onto my shoulders and wobbled home. 

I forgot to get pots. No matter. Anything can be a pot. I rifled through the kitchen cupboards and gathered together a brown mug with a chipped lip, a red plastic bucket, and a blue soup bowl. I carried my collection into the backyard to the spot by the wooden fence, and got to work. 

When I opened each of the packets, I was surprised at how unassuming the seeds looked. Little brown husks that were almost nothing, they were so small.
I don't know the rules of planting. I poured the contents of each packet onto the soil and covered them up. I dumped water over the top.

Then I went inside the house and cried. I'm not a wimp, but I can no longer control or predict when I'm going to bawl. It's like a valve inside me has broken. I'll be in the shower with my hair full of shampoo, weeping. One moment I'm at the deli ordering 200 grams of pastrami, the next, I can't see to pay through the tears.

Crying in public makes people uncomfortable. Try it. Next time you're standing in line at the bank, release a little sob. Let the sound grow into keening. Let that become a wail. Then watch the people around you edge away, as if sadness were something they could catch. 

My seeds did sprout after all. When I saw the hopeful green shoots poking out of the soil, I was glad. Those little seeds were realizing all their potential. And I'd helped them along.

Was it enough to save me from the tears?

Yes and No.

The day I ended my life, I wrote an apology first on the fence with a stick of chalk. I don't know who those words were for, but I wasn't here to see my Morning Glory bloom.

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