There is No Otherwise


The first storm of April barrels through the dinner hour. Snow to thunder to daffodils to rain – Michigan is far from neutral most days. I take tea in the darker hour and hold the numen with both hands. Lips to rim to tea to mouth – the same thought arises every time and I swallow that too.

Morning unfurls a new coverlet of snow. It's a surprise after tending flower shoots and raking leaves on Easter. A fat robin joggles left and right through the deepening layers on the deck. Every year this happens after the softening begins. After the plans for gardens and dirt. After the thaw.

I cannot change my previous path. Yet, would I, if given the chance? I am fully me in any given moment and for reasons I cannot understand, there is no otherwise. At the bookstore today I remembered my affection for field guides. Did you know that the Cardinal flower can only be pollinated by hummingbirds or that the seeds of the Spotted Touch-Me-Not explode and spread in all directions when even slightly brushed? The books become my wildflowers. The image and the words and the weight make do. And I'm going to touch those seeds when I see them because that is me.

In tomorrow's greenhouse, I won't feel the winter or even think on its reluctance to leave. We'll ship the Night Sky petunias and fill bay #6 with begonias and pour dirt into 1000 flats before noon. In tomorrow's greenhouse, I will work hard and sweat through my shirt and sew hopefulness into a million emissaries I will never see again. My fingernails will be stained with soil and its black dust will cover all the freckles on my skin. In tomorrow's greenhouse, I will not think on past paths or how I will touch those who should not be touched; I'll just be Jessica in her own skin making the world a tiny bit greener. That is enough.