I stand in the backyard of my in-laws’ house, and Gabby prances through the spray of the hose as I water little seedlings – bell peppers, wild enthusiastic dill, potted spinach, quiet peonies that have lost their blooms in the heat of June.
The rest of the yard is scorched from a month of no rain, dry and course as straw. But we water this corner faithfully, willing our little harvest to grow and thrive.
The neighbor lady stands in her backyard and scoops dog poop from the lawn and asks about my dad, about my sister-in-law, tells me stories about her daughter and son-in-law and plans for the grandbaby’s furniture and then asks, in her abrupt way, “how is the job going?”
I hold my last shreds of enthusiasm close, explain my new freelance routine.
“That’s great,” she says, “as long as the projects keep coming.”
And there it is, sitting between us like the chain-link fence, the weight of it hanging overhead like the clouds that have forgotten how to rain. Those clouds brood darkly as though they have the rain and just aren’t giving it, and it is maddening.
Yes, as long as.
She tosses the poop bag in the dumpster and with a wave of her hand she says she’ll see me later and calls the dogs into the house.
As long as.
And I look at the sky and I want to give up. I want to give up on so many things every day.
Bills. My email inbox. The bone dry ground that suffocates the green beans and zucchini.
And yes, even writing.
There are days when I hate it a little, when no matter how much I water and will it to thrive, my world of words feels barren, dry, one lit match away from going up in flames.
But I stand in my little corner of the yard, waving my arm and the hose at our small plot of garden, making my own rain.