Night Gardening


Still it can happen that there might be a Santa standing there dressed in blood and
purity, the visitation’s preferred outfit for a misunderstood season. And when that gift
came down out of the sky with presents, someone had to be removed to hospital.
Yes, of course Santa drank horribly and covered it up, but that was no excuse for
such a scene. He couldn’t seem to think of anything except silly rhymes he learned
jumping rope as a kid, which pleased his wife immensely in this time of need.
“This is not you, but this not you is what I want,” his wife said in the rehabilitation
suite while folding up the bloody Santa suit. “What I want is a full life. Just one. But full
of it. Crazy risks that make me know I’m here.”
Her frustration had finally erupted in an adventure, and even if it was not of her
instigation, she was happy to know about it and happier to be the one to tell it. It’s a story
of the gifts of false innocence unveiled and you don’t need any children in there.
Mainly that.
But also that puffy kind of trying-to-swallow-the-elbows thing that sets in when
food is the only excitement except putting things in the ground. And it’s late at night.
And the neighbors haven’t been paying attention.
It was 4 AM the first time I met Santa. I was weeding the potential carrots. I wasn’t
any of those people I lived among, but I was living where they lived. Yes, it could be
important beyond what it demands. Out of season. Significant.
And it was really me, and I lived there. Frequently. So I was an expert and I was
experiencing this thing that was going on. Just one thing but maybe more than one life.
A life with a couple of disturbing seasons and a life inside another life.
And no children.
And I couldn’t seem to give enough gifts to replace the blood and purity. I was
jumping away with them like food at 4 AM. Refrigerator installments with an afterlife.
Living where they lived.
Down out of the sky and into the misplaced garden without any children at all.
Trying to get something to come up through the sleeping surface.

Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.