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Creek Running North
July 29, 2005
Working in the garden
I am working in the garden on a late September Sunday afternoon. Neglected for busy months, it is vastly overgrown. I rip out the mats of sweet alyssum that have buried the sage and feverfew. Chamomile, linaria, violas, bachelor buttons, and prairie fire emerge as I follow tangled stems down to their roots, pull the eager alyssum out of the ground in great swaths.
I am a whirlwind, a giantess, to this small world. Uprooting; tumbling slugs and potato bugs, ants and millipedes out of their dark places; pulling earthworms, grumbling, to the surface with the roots they move among, exposing them all to hot sun, and the watchful eyes and sharp beaks of birds.
How murderous a thing a garden is. Choosing to nurture the one, I must destroy the other. I pull the white clover and alyssum, the golden, sunny dandelions by their roots; and leave them to dry and die in heaps on the grass. With pleasure, I pinch the fat ugly grubs between gloved fingers until they pop. There is something especially hateful about a creature that eats the roots of things.
I cannot kill the slugs, though. They have eaten half the leaves on the purple salvia, but I hold one on the palm of my hand, feel it glide on a slip of its own moisture across my skin, the dark length rippling, the antennae retracting into and emerging from the tiny head as the translucent body lengthens and contracts in movement. It is half comical, half beautiful, wet and vulnerable like a thing newly born.
Posted by Stephanie at July 29, 2005 03:25 PM
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It's nice to have a guest blogger who writes as thoroughly and beautiful as Stephanie does. I read this blog originally for Chris's nature knowledge, but Stephanie's great writing makes a nice additional attraction. Thank you for guest blogging.Posted by: David Ross McIrvine at July 30, 2005 07:43 AM
I never would have imagined there was beauty to be found in a slug.
Nicely done Stephanie!Posted by: space_kitty at July 30, 2005 12:45 PM