Riley and I planted a garden on Saturday. For many couples, a collaboration of this nature is not difficult...little thought, even less discussion. A garden is a garden is a garden. The kind of project that comes oh-so-easily to two thinking, rational adults. Riley - my love, my light, the should-be-leader in this two step - is one of those thinking, rational adults. I am...not. If the husband were to plan and plant a garden (without my interference), it would be a green machine of efficiency. The kind of eco development that would make even Al Gore proud...were he to ever leave his private jet long enough to see it. A garden left solely in Riley's hands, much like a life left in Riley's hands, would be productive and yield much fruit.
And then there was she. This girl left to her own devices? I would plan for that lovely garden. Planning is delightful. I would dream agricultural dreams and collect recipes for all the produce still unplanted. There would be sketches of garden designs, garden swings, garden paths. I would probably buy a few gnomes. All that is lovely and nice and airy. This process would go on for years. And then, finally, at 92 years old, I would die. That crazy lady down the street with the unkempt lawn and enough garden gnomes to stage a yard ornament uprising. Not great.
Thankfully, I do not live in a world in which my uncertainty and love for tacky yard art will destroy me. I live in a world with Riley. So Saturday we gardened. And he tilled and measured and made right. And I planted and prettied and made colorful. It is not a work of perfection. I bought too many leeks and there have been concerns over the lack of ready to pickle items. And I might have already killed the sweet potatoes. However. There was a moment when he and I were working side by side, and it was hot and dirty and lovely. And for just that moment that silly garden was the life we live and that life just isn't really all that silly. Riley nurtures my dreams and coaxes them into the sun. He has saved me from a lifetime of too-scared-to's, what-if's and never-been's. Our lives will bear fruit and my-oh-my won't it taste sweet.
I don't know what I give that man in return, I just know that it is not enough.