Saw the first sulfur butterfly, I think a Little Wing. They don’t sit still long. The first dragonflies like tiny helicopters, only beautiful, escorting me. Intricately delicate, not manmade, not mechanical. Could have been damselflies. Either way, they were scarcely visible. The kale was up in tiny overcrowded huddles. I planted too many seeds in one bunch. Actually, I confess, they kept falling out of the packet. One bean sprout has broken ground. The tomato starts are settling in nicely. Dare I say it? Almost no weeds. The skate park kids never bother me. I need to bring the shears and clean up the rough stuff around the fence. I said I would. Looks like someone cut off a little bush but it fell on one of the marigolds I put in corners for cheeriness. In the half plot next to that, an onion plant is growing rogue from last year’s leftovers, even after the city came in and tilled everything. In the parking lot, a woman was bringing stencils to repaint the bilingual activities for children on the walk down by the fishing pier. I saw an osprey dive toward the lake, but it never reappeared. Must’ve flown down under the rise in the ground over where they cut down so many trees trying to obliterate an invasive species. Last season’s morning glory vines intertwined in the chain link are yellowed and stiff now. I used to water every day it didn’t rain. Now I know better. Not to overdo it. Now, if the voles, underground, eat away the heart of the beets before I ever pull them, I’ll understand their hunger. I won’t set traps. We’re all just trying to get by. This is how, now, I’ll garden.

Jan Carroll is the host of the 6x6 Reading Series and a member of the Poets of the Oak Lair writing group. She lives in Eau Claire and works in healthcare and publishing. She’s glad she decided to have a garden. More by Jan.

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