On an overcast Wednesday I walk
the front yard, casting like a fly fisherman
looking for the best spot. I eyeball
possibilities after yesterday’s wander
through a nursery, guessing how many
plants I need based on what survived
the drenching winter—as always,
driving home with too many.
But that, I figure, gives me options.
Which I need when, sinking to my
knees in supplication, despite my
best efforts at digging, I can’t
deepen a hole thanks to old roots
or decomposing clay pipe. The big
fellow in the gallon pot will need
a different place to land, so instead
I choose the small red-flowered
kalanchoe, a new-to-me succulent
that prompts a prayer of hope for
this little one.
As I dig, I unearth more than a few
earthworms, depositing their wiry
pink bodies in the dirt I set aside,
position the plant just so in its cradle,
then tuck the original occupants
back in with their new roommate.
I cringe when I accidentally trowel
one in half. But the two ends continue
to wriggle and, I understand, thrive,
reborn within eight days into fully
functioning worms—mouth, brain and all.
So I pray to the garden gods that
these blind and deaf creatures may
safely burrow their tubular selves into
dark soil, eating and pooing and creating
healthy space for new roots—silent
environmental helpers busily improving
their home place, which they so gracefully
share with us, too.