Fruits of Labor


I got caught by my husband and his camera this morning in one of my happy places, our deck. It’s May 22, and though we’re expecting a warm day worthy of being poolside, for now it’s shady and cool sitting out here. I hear cardinals singing from every direction overhead among other birdsongs. A breeze is blowing the new, bright green leaves in intervals that remind me of ocean waves. But even better than being at the beach, I’m home.

A large, loosely woven bird nest rests in the crook of the umbrella in the table—a discovery that startled me last night when turning the crank to open it. Careful not to disturb it, I left it in place and am waiting to see if it has any inhabitants or if it’s a dummy nest where Mrs. Bird declined residency.

My two canine friends are by my side, snoozing and also hearing the same sounds as I, though they’re probably dreaming of kibbles and bits rather than thinking of my son’s upcoming high school graduation Saturday.

The newest inhabitants on the deck are the containers, something new for me this year. Since last year’s feeble attempt at a raised garden bed ended up as a salad bar for deer finished off by Checkers who ate the tomato vines, I decided to move what mattered closer to the house. The large green container was a cast-off from a neighbor’s trash pile. “Be it ever so humble.” I finagled faux bottoms in the largest of the three pots deciding they didn’t need that much soil and spent just a few bucks on some tiny plants. They’ve only been planted about two weeks, and the tomatoes have more than quadrupled in size. It’s fun to watch them grow, and I admit to babying them every morning. That’s okay too. As a soon-to-be empty-nester, I need something to baby.

Every morning I step out on the deck, gently place their leaves higher in the cages, and tell them in my best Toy Story Woody voice to “reach for the sky.” They must be listening. Either that or phototropism is doing its natural thing.

Along with the tomatoes, squash, cucumber, bell pepper, cilantro, basil, and mint are all just several steps away from the kitchen and will become part of our summer suppers. Everything has a season, and as I wade through this one, I am reminded how a little babying in the beginning can bring great fruits later. And no, I’m not talking about vegetables.
boys porch