We planted some flowers around the deck in the backyard. J. and I wanted native plants, tenacious flowers that can fend for themselves once they've been established. We started small, so the border around the deck looks scraggly. Each plant looks lonely, swimming in a sea of bare earth.
I go and look at them frequently every day, leaning on the deck and peering down at them from above. I count the new blooms on the coneflowers and examine the asters which seem to be stuck in time. Bumblebees bump among the blooms of the bee balm, their happy drone drifting on the breeze.
Grow, I want to say, as if all my desire for growth can be encapsulated in a little word that, when directed their way, will impart the force of life. Instead, I just look at them a lot.