More Than Flowers by Jamie Gogocha

It’s that moment when I’m able to step outside without my winter coat. That moment when I look at the flower bed I’m about to tend. I’ll look at the dirt, rich with nutrients from things I missed during my autumn cleanup. I’ll look at the green sprouts of leaves and the minute buds on the hydrangeas my grandma ordered for me from QVC. I’ll smile when I recall that only a handful of weeks before, the hydrangea’s skeleton was in a vertical arm-wrestling match with seven inches of late-winter snow.

It’s that moment when I shudder as I use my gardening gloves to wipe the spiderwebs away from the yard-waste bin before I wheel it out to the middle of the yard. The blue container is chest-high and promises me a workout as well as a clean yard by inches. We got the little black wheelbarrow as a housewarming gift in 2011, and each year it helps me in the aspiration, never realized, to have one of those pristine yards I see in the movies. I fill that wheelbarrow over and over to dump into the yard-waste bin. Little by little, my yard will be tidy. But for only a moment.

It’s that moment when I look up from the flowerbed to the window and see two kitty faces diligently supervising my yardwork. I’ll wave to them as I pass the window with the wheelbarrow, the rake, or the lawn mower. Maybe I can have that window open so they can get some of the same fresh air that I’m getting. Maybe I will leave it closed so the loud noises from the yard equipment won’t startle them. Window open or closed, I’ll glance at them as they watch me intently as we’re all wondering what the heck I’m doing.

It’s that moment when I use my T-shirt to wipe the dust off of my sunglasses before I put them on. Isn’t it peculiar how much brighter the world looks through tinted lenses sometimes?

It’s also that moment when I roll the car window down an inch or two…just to see if the air is warm enough. I find that it is, and I roll my window down further. Every song is instantly better, and even my favorites have never sounded as amazing as they do when the stereo is turned up until I can’t hear myself singing along, and the wind is trying to hitch a ride.

It’s that moment when I know the other moments are bringing me back to life.

Jamie Gogocha is in her final year at Central Washington University’s professional and creative writing online program. She loves reading, writing, rock music, and kickboxing. Jamie lives in Yelm, Washington, with her husband and their two cats. Some of her previous work has been published by Creative Colloquy.