the taste of limits

Today it rains. It is hot and it is sunny, and then it is hot and it rains.  A cycle of weather I must live with.

It is has been so hot, for weeks now, that I stay inside. I want to be outside, I want to sweat and dig in my garden and pull the ten million weeds that call my name each time I open my back door. They mock me, these weeds. Point and nod as I walk by, I hear them: bad gardener, lazy girl, indifferent caretaker.

I give them the finger and go back inside.

The best time to weed is just after it rains, roots are easier to pull from soft, wet soil. I should go out there and do that right now.
But I won’t, it is late already, I need to make pizza for dinner, and tomorrow, I have an art show.

But if I could, I would go out there, right now, and start pulling. And when I finally finished, sometime next Tuesday, there would be a mountain of weeds, a foothill of dill, a backache, and a giant sense of accomplishment. Funny how something so simple can make you feel so good.

Next weekend, I am going to my friend’s house so she can teach me how to make pickles. She is 84 and has lived a life filled with extraordinary amounts of pain, both physical and emotional. And yet, she giggles. A lot. One of these days, on a different day, I will tell you her story. But she called me this week and she said, “The cucumbers are early this year, we have to get going on these pickles.” These pickles that I asked her to teach me how to make.

She is housebound, and most likely bored, and if I could, I would go and spend every day with her, so she could teach me all about 84 years worth of living, and how to make pickles and also how to crochet those amazing doilies. But for now, I had to tell her the pickles would have to wait, I have a show this weekend, I cannot go there until next week, when it is August.

I am going to learn to make pickles.

Sugar and spice,

salt and vinegar,

time and life.

16 Responses to “the taste of limits”

  • Carrie Schmitt Says:

    you are such a gifted writer. i always enjoy reading your posts. i can relate to what you say about weeds and know how your friend must feel. i’m stuck inside all summer too and cannot garden–i’m severely allergic to heat. i’ve only been outside 3 times since june! and i finally have a sense of accceptance that i also sense in this post.

  • Kathryn Dyche Dechairo Says:

    I hear you about the weeds. The 84 year old woman sounds amazing . . . have fun next weekend with your pickle making and enjoy the art show this weekend.

  • Elizabeth Says:

    Kelly, what a beautiful post. I can even understand that a post about weeds will be interesting and inspiring…but it is. Love the 84 years old woman story with you. It reminded me of my dearest mom. She “traveled to a place farther than the Sun” when she was about to celebrate her 86th birthday…I learned so many things form her…and I missed her so much. Today I am going to write about her in my second of seven days of “Enjoy the Ride ” posts.

  • Skye Says:

    Oh, cruel weeds! They are like that, aren’t they, pointing & mocking…
    Good for you, for giving them the finger; I always just go hide behind my window & peek out the curtains,. (weeds are so short-sighted; they cannot mock me then, just gossip behind me back. Bastard weeds!)
    Can’t wait to hear @ the pickles & your neighbor!!! She sounds awesome!

  • whollyjeanne Says:

    mary rose o’reilley (an author i adore) says she divided her yard into areas and weeded an area every other day. she considered it practice for patience and pacing (among other things) because once she was going, she so badly wanted to keep going and finish weeding everything. i’ve adopted mary rose’s approach i’ve taken this year: one patch at a time. and wonder of wonders, there’s been a bonus, a silver lining: by the time i make the circuit and get back to patch #1, the weeds are so long, it’s easy to get a good grip, leverage.

  • Vanessa Says:

    I can relate to the whole procrastination on the weed pulling. I finally did mine a few days ago, with the help of my little ones. They had fun for about 10 minutes. Ha

  • Cristina Says:

    Oh if I had a dollar for each time I gave my weeds the finger, I’d be rich and my weeds would have overtaken my yard. But I would love to watch pickles being made. I don’t want to eat ’em, but I would love to watch. My students once thought they grew that way. I blew their minds when I said they were made!

  • beth Says:

    how lucky is your friend to have you ?

    and those weeds, yeah, the finger makes me feel better, too 🙂

    good luck with the show…..and the pickles !!!

  • kamana Says:

    share with us what you learn about pickle making with your friend. she sounds like an amazing woman, and a great friend, i am sure.

  • Debi Says:

    love me some pickles and a good story. can i come over and settle on a stool or a chair & eavesdrop? and re: the weeds. I am so not a garden girl, so much more the enjoyer of others’ gardens, but today is the day i have chosen to maybe clean the back porch and buy a few new plants. it was in the 90s this morning, so we will see.

  • Marcie Says:

    Your relationship with this woman is both inspiring and wonderful all at once. Can’t wait to hear about the pickles. And – hope your weekend show went well!!!

  • Lisa Says:

    May your weeds respond to the finger and may your soul respond to the process of making pickles. Such an enjoyable insight into your days!

  • Toni Says:

    I had someone much like your friend who taught me how to can beets. That was such a wonderful day with Honey and my mother-in-law – three women of three generations working in harmony in the kitchen, with two little boys underfoot. I hope you can get your day of pickle making in soon.

  • Lisa's Chaos Says:

    I was trying to enjoy the outside this morning, but the bugs would not leave me alone! Tired of hot and biting bugs. Enjoy your time with you’re friend. I love the thought of someone in their 80s giggling. 🙂

  • Lisa's Chaos Says:

    Dangit – your friend, not you’re friend, oh heck you know! lol

  • Kate Says:

    I truly cannot wait to read about it. I made pickles once. Cool stuff.
    We’ve given up on the weeds.

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