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Word(s) . Light . Life


Saving Seeds

This first week of June, I feel compelled to drift back to my mother’s garden…to the plain country home of my childhood where I first explored the secrets of the universe…and growing things.

I dream of my mother’s garden with its orderly assymetry of neat rows suddenly interjected by feathery bright cosmos sprouting up amidst the dill or the tiny faces of miniature pansies peeking up from amongst the potatoes.

As long as I can recall, Mom always worked in her garden for five months a year. She spent hours watering, hoeing, weeding and digging and never seemed to tire of her labours, through days sun-soaked or rain-swept. Our lives were happily entangled in a burgeoning world of winding cucumber vines, snow peas, belgian beans, carrots, sweetpeas and snapdragons, petunias, sunflowers, hollyhocks and bachelor’s buttons. Things just kept growing.

That was a long time ago. Or so it seems. And except for a much smaller patch of soil which Mom now hoes and seeds, things haven’t changed much in her gardening world. She still itches to be out cultivating. The morning glories now climb one trellis, an orange honeysuckle the other. And I realize that Mom has become a master at saving seeds and preserving a legacy.

The belgian beans and snow peas she plants can’t be purchased anywhere. The seeds are ‘carried over’ year after year.  The beans originally crossed the ocean to Canada when my aunt’s mother-in-law emigrated from Europe. The snow peas came from somewhere in the ‘old country’ and belonged to my great grandmother.  They are ‘heritage seeds’. Eating the ‘fruit’ of these seeds once the plants have grown is like a sudden burst of something new and rich and old and exotic all at once…a fresh and unique heavenly treat. Mom serves the beans boiled plain with a dab of butter. The beans exude a rare nutty flavor that is impossible to duplicate and the peas are exceptionally sweet and tender, and are wide-shaped and much thinner than any standard modern day varieties I’ve found.

Not surprisingly, my mother is a woman of faith. Like the seeds she holds dear and guards so tenderly and wisely, her faith seems to hold wondrous secrets about well-being, longevity, happiness, joy, peace, and hope. Mom shares her faith as generously and warmly and naturally as she does her bright garden and curved flower borders her neighbours so often admire. Right now, her irises and peonies are starting to put on a show. Mom keeps on weeding and hoeing and managing her garden. There is no end to her toils, and she doesn’t mind. To her, it’s all play. And there are a few yellow daylilies sticking up near the winter onions this year.

Saving seeds…there’s so much more to this garden than meets the eye…

© S. Michaels 2012

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Mom’s Hat Trick

“Quiet now, kids. Yes, one moment please,
I’ve bought some new hats. Tell me what you think!”
She spun around quickly, we gaped, and we stared,
A bright yellow blob was glommed to her hair
The hard hat bobbed like a beach ball or a helium balloon
“Okay, mom, whatever, but what’s with that thing?”

“Meet Mom-Number One Rescue Chief!’”
Mom coaxes kids out of bed to get them to school,
Mom saves postman from dog, and gets cat to the vet,
Mom risks her neck getting a ball out of a tree,
Oh, and then there’s my day job, did I forget to add that?”

This really wasn’t like Mom, we couldn’t stop thinking,
But another fast twirl and Mom wore a chef’s hat!
It teetered and tottered as we helped her ice a cake,
“What next?” we wailed, “A halo and wings?”

Then out came a hat that drew our steady salute,
“Meet Mom-Army Major! Okay troops, to work!”
We spit-polished the house, the whole kit and kaboodle
Then puzzled and wondered, “Has Mom flipped her noodle?”

The next day was Sunday, who could figure Mom out,
Yet Mom sat serenely in a feathered hat rather regal,
“It’s been quite the day, a bit of fun, I suppose,
I hope you understand your mom wears many hats.”

We hemmed and we hawed and shuffled about,
“Sorry, Mom, we forgot, tomorrow’s Mother’s Day, ain’t it?”

“Oh yes it is, isn’t it?” Mom corrected quite quickly
We warmed to her smile, a reminder of her love,
Dad kissed her softly, offering a dozen sweet roses,
Then laughed, “So what did you kids think of Mom’s hat trick?”

“We get it, Dad – every day should be Mom’s Day!”

copyright 2011 S. Michaels
A tribute to all amazing moms out there!


These Hands


Lines drawn in palms
Sands of time
Run through
Boundaries, hills
Crisscrossed markings
All-thumbs and fingertips
These hands…

Touched, warmed
Frosted glass, built
Gripped life, lit campfires
Loved, tussled, touched stars
Tipped, clutched, dropped
Carried groceries
Crosses, babies
Mopped up, spilled
Hustled, scrubbed pots
Baked, tanned
Got burned, cooked
Spaghetti, soup-to-nuts
Poured cold water, iced cakes
Shovelled, tossed snowballs
Lost, won, lost again
Paddled upstream
Brushed, tousled
Child’s bright strands
Untangled silver mops
Toiled, slipped up
Took away, drooped
Cupped smiles, tears
Felt rain and sunlight
Slammed doors, etched years
Pried, tried, stretched
Opened windows, ached
Prayed, praised

These hands…
Lived, embraced, gave


Copyright 2010 S. Michaels