by Brent van Staalduinen Every time I see you in the spring, your hands are dark with the expensive soil you till into those waiting flower beds. It comes in big yellow bags and never sits for long—within days the shovel and wheelbarrow are out for your annual spring performance, you the director, your husband the reluctant player. But today, it’s just you. The hem of the black dress you wore to the service is hiked up, and your knees are as muddy as your hands.
by Paula Dunning Rachel is driving the riding mower back and forth across the lawn, the first mowing of the season. It’s springtime-cool—she’s wearing a light jacket, and a bright red scarf holds back her greying curls—but the midday sun is warm on her back. As she backs up to manoeuver around the hawthorn bush, she glances across the expanse of green to the house, where the rose bushes beside the deck are just putting out leaves. When she and Tom moved onto this farm forty years ago, a small yard surrounded the house. Back then, she pushed an old mower that spewed out black smoke while the kids piled up the clippings to make hay for toy cows.