May 21, 2020 · 2:34 pm
by Thomas Davis
Afraid, Grandma started talking
about the two weeping willows in her back yard.
When the wind blows they move around
and make complaining noises, she said.
She said she was waking up late at night
and hearing them moving around in the dark.
In her early seventies she still loved
gardening and growing flowers.
Her long row of red and pink peonies
beside her driveway’s black cinders,
usually covered with crawling ants,
bloomed all spring and summer.
After she and Grandpa George had built their adobe house
putting earth-bricks together by hand,
she’d planted climbing rose bushes,
creating a rose arch in front of the front door.
Later, behind the willows she’d planted
after snipping twigs off a massive tree
growing beside her favorite fishing hole
at Schweitzer Lake and sprouting white roots in a glass jar,
she started a garden with concord grape vines,
strawberries, sweet corn, sugar beets, potatoes, lettuce, green beans,
and tomatoes bigger than tomatoes ought to be.
During late fall days, before the cold came,
she spent hours, florid face red and sweating,
putting the year’s harvest in mason jars.
When she finally let the garden go
after getting a job at Goodwill downtown,
the willows started worrying her.
She complained about them as if she thought
they were angry at her the way her neighbor was.
He claimed that when she and George
had built their house in the poor part of Delta
they’d put their porch and cellar
six inches into land he purchased a decade later.
Finally, one night when she couldn’t sleep,
she went out and tried to chop the tallest willow down
with a rusty axe from the coal shed.
When she discovered she’d grown too old
to manage that in the middle of the night,
she called an old man she’d known for sixty years
and had him chop down both willows
“for firewood to feed his wood stove.”
August 17, 2013 · 8:29 am
photographs by Sonja Bingen
June 8, 2013 · 10:51 am
a photograph by Ethel Mortenson Davis
September 7, 2012 · 6:53 am
a children’s poem by Thomas Davis in honor of Ethel’s garden which is giving us the most wonderful sweet corn this year
Can you plant me a garden?
Will you fill it with hot snow topped radishes that have mouses’ tails? Purple fat eggplants? Long john carrots with dark eyes and a bushy top? Flush red tomatoes that look like they came from downtown? Golden eared corn? Tube potatoes with sprouts and white roots and a round belly? Thin lined green celery? Snake stringy spinach? Crying onions? Pod neighbor peas? Elephant fat watermelons? Puffed up white cauliflowers? Mushy pumpkins? Sunset red and black rhubarb? Embarrassed beets?
Will you plant me a garden?
July 12, 2012 · 6:14 am
a photograph by Sonja Bingen
The bunny came to where the garden was being watered, trying to find something to eat in the drought.
June 11, 2012 · 6:42 am
by Ethel Mortenson Davis
A hummingbird came
to the garden at sunrise,
close to my left shoulder,
then my face—a female Black-Chin.
She came for the sparkling droplets
glistening from my sprinkler—
a morning bath
in a parched land.
She presented her gift
as she took mine.
March 26, 2012 · 6:17 am
by Ethel Mortenson Davis
In the early morning
Orion is already setting
In the western sky.
I follow it,
to the spring equinox,
pointing north past
the north star.
where spring first appears
in bunches of wild leeks,
the first green in the forest,
dug up by deer
for their delectable bulbs.
Then a carpet of
spring beauties and anemones follow,
flooding the forest floor.
It was there
where you laid your head
in a bed of wild flowers.
The fiddle-head ferns
were just unwinding
and in a month
would reach our shoulders.
It was there,
where you wore
bells on your hips
so as not to surprise
the black bear with cubs
and the gray timber wolf
on his trek across the land.
Now Orion sets in the southwest,
pointing toward spring.
I will plant corn this year,
perhaps on the western side
of the garden.
© 2010, I Sleep Between the Moons of New Mexico.