Charlotte’s baby spiders. A whirlwind of sand. The field was blanketed with them this spring, so many waiting wishes. She closed her eyes, concentrated fully, sucked in a deep breath and blew, scattering endless spores from the dandelion’s fuzzy crown. She slowly opened her eyes and was very thrilled to see that she had succeeded. It was simple enough. She just wanted things to be ok again, like they used to be. Before her life had gradually imploded the year before. She wanted the broken pieces of herself and her life to suddenly heal. Watching a shattering vase in rewind.
He picked the dandelions and scattered them around her. “They’re cheerful and adorable, just like you,” he told her. She smiled a little and sipped the lemonade they had brought in a Thermos in the picnic basket. All the colors seemed hyper-real today, overly saturated—the blue of the sky was too vivid, the green of the grass was too rich. Afternoons like this existed only in dreams and movies. In a couple of weeks the dandelions around them will all have turned to wispy spores, ready to be wished on. In a couple of weeks she will have lost him.
The huge sunflowers loomed in rows in the field, long since dead. Their heavy heads ducked despondently on the edges of their tall stalks, eyes that had once looked up at the sky now cast downward, quietly contemplating the stark inevitability of their demise. Their once vibrant yellow petals were turned ashen, dry and bent inward around their centers. Their leaves, too, had turned gray, like remnants of Great Depression-era stock footage. All the color and joy had been sapped away. Only the seeds were not overtaken with melancholy. They held locked inside them the brilliance of next year’s field.
Her hands were warm in the soft earth. She didn’t wear gardening gloves, loving this feeling of it breaking, yielding under her hands, the soil carving out its own space in the tributaries of her palms. Today she was planting strawberries, freeing their artificially cubed roots from the flimsy plastic planters from the chain nursery and bringing them into their own place in the sun with the reverence of a new mother. She gently patted down the dirt around each plant, the wholesome green of their leaves like hopeful little flags. Life could always start again. She needed to remember.