I don't know why I even take a shower before I go to my mom's house.
My mom and step-dad have a three acre plot of land that is split about evenly between garden and woods. Tending to this land requires a large collection of work clothes, which my mom has assembled over the years from her kids' closets, Goodwill, and the local Feed and Seed. My siblings and I have a long-running joke that you can't be at the house for five minutes without ending up outside in a ridiculous outfit, and this time was no exception. Within ten minutes of arriving at my mom's house I am wearing yoga pants, knee high rubber boots,* a purple and blue ski jacket from approximately 1984 and a yellow and black Caterpillar knit cap with a yellow pom-pom on top.
We start by admiring the dogwood tree and saying hello to the garlic stalks. My mom fusses with the basil and has a few choice words (of the four letter variety) to say about the excessive rains having melted her cucumbers. Then we head up the hill into the woods. Since the great Fuck You my mom has spent a lot of time in the woods. Today she is showing me the "meditation trail" she has built into the hillside, a pathway that tracks back and forth through the steep, steep hillside so you can walk them without becoming totally out of breath. She has transplanted around 50 baby fir trees. The babies spring up in the dirt under their Mama's crowns, but there isn't enough light or food there for them. So my mom painstakingly dug them up and transplanted them all over the hillside, like so many Charlie Brown Christmas Trees. I am in awe of their lime-green tips of new growth; they look inherently hopeful and I understand why my mom would love them so much.
As we head back down the hill we stop by the barn to take a gander at the beets and the radishes and I am dispatched to get the hose for some reason. As I am getting it I hear my mom squawk like someone has poured cold water on her head. This is the noise that she makes when her mortal enemy, the garden slug, dares make an appearance within a 5 mile radius of our house. I know what is going to happen next. With a crazy glint in her eye, my mom mutters, "Die, Fucker," and smashes the slug with a rock.
And it is then that I know that I am truly home.
*I'm not talking cute stripey galoshes from Target. These are industrial size, all black, meant for shit-hauling, real life farm boots. They are not cute and they do NOT mess around.
photo from here