Will it rain? Who knows. It’s all a guessing game, though if you were to ask my dad he’d tell you it’s not. You do know, he’d say. There are signs. Humbly, you know it’s true. There are signs, you have a way to go until you learn them that’s all…
You want the rain because there’s tomatoes and spinach and garden peas that beg for it. Water is water but rain is better water, they seem to say.
Rain brings weeds also, there’s more weeds every day and less time, and you wish for a magic touch that will take them all away and make the garden clean of unwanted green. Someone once said that weeds are good, they would not flourish in bad soil. Take heart, is what they meant…
Bringing up children and tender crops. The same. Weeds taking over in both worlds. Screams, stomping of small feet and sulking, fights among boys too wild to know the slow art of diplomacy, and they’ll tell you being diplomatic makes you a loser… ‘cuz they know, they’re in the thick of it. Could all of that go like dandelion fluff, all the weedy dragon-like behavior and you’ll see but smiling faces, mannered boys taking turns speaking and never ever talking with their mouths full or stealing from other’s plates, no talking back… Nope. Sigh? No sigh. Joy. Nothing goes away that comes from within. Acceptance, all the struggle that children put into becoming people. The relentless struggle of tiny seedlings pushing through gritty soil.
You pull weeds, and the air is pierced by the boys’ voices. Shrills, screams, laughter, then the loud dragons again… ‘No, no, no, I am not playing with you…’
Should you step up and see about it? You call their names… Silence.
Magic? Perhaps. They are tough, you can see their heads past the weeds just like you can see the corn rising thin and green and brave, reaching high. There’s no going back now.
Weeds, glassy skies, rags of clouds hanging lose, the world seems lazier than a sloth in the leftover heat of late afternoon, but you don’t stop. You can’t. The earth is dry, feels sandy between your toes. Barefoot boys, skipping past pebbles, they don’t stop… They can’t. It’s the game.
It’s the rhythmicity of it that makes it all exist, grow, and become more. Day after day, small things becoming big deeds, small roots holding small bodies, there’s no going back now. Rhythmic. Every day. Enough to fill the spaces in your body where you felt fear so often. You will again, but fear moves up, like bubbles in a glass that’s always half-full. Fear for them, for the crops to grow. But fear withers like the weeds you pull out of the ground and throw to the side. Fear has small roots. It must…
‘Mom, can we go for a bike ride?’ Little boy rides fast, you run to catch up.
If you can. Ha! What cheekiness… Fast becomes faster. You chase him just to hear the giggle, almost touching his back, then you slow down so the mad dash won’t make boy and bike topple. And they do, but there’s no crying. Grimaces, a look of ‘it hurts’ that you want to go and make better, but there’s no need because… ‘Tag me again!’
Remember the day when big brother stopped crying when he fell. That day… he rubbed the knees, rubbed palms, no need for kiss to make it better. T-shirts wiped all that Band-Aids masked until then. ‘Will these scars stay, Mom? I hope they do…’
Signs of time. Scars are not to cover. Boys are afraid no more, now your fear can go away too.
‘Try to catch me on the way home!’
You run, fast, but wait… there’s berries in the back lane, growing wild, kissed by sunsets and taken care of by invisible hands… time. You gotta remember to bring the boys to the back lane bounty in a couple of weeks. Bounty, growing wild. You know it’ll be sweet and flavourful, and it’ll be like that whether someone pulls the cluster of weeds surrounding its spiky feet or not. It’ll be sweet, whether it rains or not, or despite of it… You know everything grows stronger without perfection to choke it. Children too. Bounty.
You follow the boy and his wild head of hair, palms of sunset glowing light caressing every strand and making them into golden streams. You’re at peace, not worried of rains and weeds and magic touches that can make everything perfect.
Magic is when you let go of the fear that you have to have it perfect so they’ll turn right. Magic is when you finally understand that they’ll still need the hug to make it better, but not for scraped knees. For egos that grow too soon, for life so loud it makes your heart pound and for bruises that come with it.
Day’s over. You pick tender leaves of lettuce, green and red, herbs… The shimmering sunset light is about to plunge behind the horizon. Tomorrow’s roots.
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