Copyright is held by the author.
SHE WORRIED it might be her last chance to do it. Her gnarled fingers pressed the tiny morning glory seeds into pots on her window sill. After a couple of weeks, they poked through the dirt. She waited until the weather warmed, then gathered them up into a basket along with a trowel, and water bottle. She placed everything, including a small stool, into her shopping trundle. She hobbled, wheezed, and inched down the hill from her apartment.
She chose a spot away from the trail that pedestrians took, and sat on her stool. She inhaled the deep smell of wet earth, new vegetation and early blossoms, while the ants marched back and forth around her stool. A ladybug landed on her for good luck. All morning, she prepared the earth, planted, and listened to the birds. She loved this wild stretch of land below her apartment building.
The next day she shuffled down the hill with two tiny hostas. She planted them near the morning glories and gave her plants their names. The hostas were Hope I and Hope II. She knew the morning glories would grow together to form one plant so she called them Gloria. She felt like their mother, although she wasn’t quite sure what that meant as she had never had children. But she watched over them daily as best she could, on alert for invading insects or any other kind of trouble. She took photos on her cell phone as they grew.
Each day the weeds and bushes along the hillside flourished until the land was fully clothed in green. The wild plants stretched around her and her children, protecting them from the view of pedestrians who went off down the trail. She was content.
She tried to visit every day but sometimes she couldn’t. The climb up and down the hill was becoming more difficult as the vegetation grew thicker. But she kept trying. Then one day she couldn’t come any more. Her strength was seeping out; it was happening faster than she anticipated. It was their spring, not hers. However, she had brought her children this far, and like all children, she had to let them go. Gloria would seed herself for future seasons. Hope I and Hope II were perennials and would survive for many years. She scrolled through her photos and conjured up the smells and textures of the plants and the hillside. She told herself it was the small things in life that count. She had done a final small thing. It was enough.