I know this place. This was your garden.
This is where you spent each day for thirty years, until you began to look like something that had grown here. Barkish skin, fingers dyed with dirt, arms like tough old twigs.
You could never leave, you said, because they depended on you. Horned poppy and honeywort. You knew which needed shelter, and which could stand the wind.
Now it is three years since you took the birdfeeders down because you wouldn’t be leaving sugarwater for those fat tui again. It is three years since you carried your last sack of sea wrack up from the beach and over the hill to spread around these bushes with the blood and bone.
I was ready to see this garden gone. I thought its life was tied to yours. But the garden didn’t die. It just went mad without you. The things you’d tamed turned lawless. The weeds went to war with the flowers. I thought your absence would look like a hole or space, but your absence is busy and wild.
Not everything has changed. Those succulents remain, stoic on that sandy bank where you left them. You knew they’d take care of themselves.
Your days in this garden were all about decisions. I see that now: where to dig, where to sow, how to live and when to go.