This is the latest installment of The Growing Season. For the other installments please click here.
Our next visit with Dr. Forth shows no progression of my cervical issue, and I think he breathes as big a sigh of relief as that expressed by Jack and me. We fly out to California for Christmas feeling a sense of relief that allows us to enjoy time with his family and the warm days in the sun. Though we’re only gone for a long weekend, it feels like a vacation, and we return to Atlanta feeling renewed. I’m thankful, because the long winter months and their short days loom ahead—and other than last year and my love-induced haze, I do not have a good track record with those conditions.
We are greeted back home by temperatures thirty degrees colder than those we just left, and with a couple of cases of jet lag as well. It’s always harder heading east, and for the first couple of mornings I let myself sleep in. The third morning, I check my email and see a message from Kennedy. It’s an update on Cara’s wedding planning—“just in case,” she writes. Apparently, the bachelorette party will be in New York in late April. Obviously, it would be too late in the pregnancy for me to go; never mind that I wasn’t invited anyway. I imagine how much fun they’ll have in my old city, just as it is coming back to life by responding to winter with spring. I see the cherry blossoms in Central Park, hear the scrape of metal against concrete as busboys pull tables and chairs out onto restaurant patios. Springtime in New York is what makes the winter bearable; it’s a reawakening, a reintroduction to the sun. I feel a palpable sadness to know I’m missing it, and not just the season. I’m aching for my friendships that now feel left behind in the city. And I can’t believe that I still haven’t heard from Cara.
I carry that sadness and disbelief outside with me to meet with Mirabelle for the first time since Jack and I returned from California. She appears in the garden as I approach. I’m amazed at the clearing that’s already taken place: in the last few days before the trip, I cut back branches and pulled up small plants under Mirabelle’s direction. The weekend before we left, Jack spent an entire Saturday taking care of the more intense uprooting and movement. I brought a chair outside to keep him company and, sitting there, wondered if Mirabelle would appear. I guess neither of us felt it was the right time, because she never showed up and I felt relieved. Continue reading