Speaking in Tongues
I used to live where the branches and blossoms had nothing new to say to me. I rushed by them daily and grabbed the keys, always late for work. They stood ready every day, the azalea, the dogwood, but I never stopped to hear their news…unless all of sudden it was spring.
Sometimes in warm, sweet May I did walk slowly up the drive.
Really though, that old real life was the kitchen counter, papers, numbers, groceries, dates, and times.
Now I’m in a new real life, so distracted by things that speak to me without the benefit of regular tongues, that I am startled and incensed when humans invade my garden to speak in the usual way. I watch their jittery mouths. And gape at their flashing teeth when they open their skinny lips to laugh. Not one word they say registers, though, and all I am thinking is this:
“Every blade of grass has a right to live.”*
My grandma used to say that. You’d think she meant it as metaphor, for people. She was talking about grass, though. She loved her grass, and also her rock garden full of white stones and tiger lilies.
One day without warning, my grandfather cut down all the flowers and shoved the pretty gleaming rocks behind the shed. He said it was easier to mow the lawn that way. Shortly after, my gram had to go to the hospital for four months. She was sick with sadness.
Sometimes, when humans invade my garden and jabber on about things from that old real life, I feel as though I am channeling the pain my grandmother felt the day he murdered her tiger lilies.