What is the best thing to do if it is 50 degrees outside and pouring down rain? Dig a new flowerbed, of course! Don’t bother with a bra. Don’t even put on clothes. Just stay in your jammies, because you’re going to have to change afterward anyway. Get on your heavy green garden clogs because—duh!—mud. Then grab a shovel and start turning sod. Feel how soft the roots are under your shovel. Get it way under there, then hoist up a load of water-laden grass and muck. Grab it with your bare hands and shake off some of the dirt, then throw the sod-clump in a pile to deal with later.
Do this again and again and again, while the cold rain wets your hair, seeps through your clothes, and trickles between your breasts (if, you know, you’re a woman) and down your shoulder blades. Keep on doing this, turning the sod inch by weary inch, picking out the worms and grubs and roly-poly bugs and throwing them in another flower bed to keep doing their wonderful buggy business. Stop to take a breath and lick a drop of water off your nose. Notice how salty it tastes, and realize that the rain has mixed with your sweat. Feel exhilarated!
After about an hour, when the sod is all turned, wipe the muck off your shovel, which has become one brown muddy color with the wood indistinguishable from the blade. Grab the glops of mud that are hanging onto your clogs and throw them back in the newly-turned flowerbed. Then get down on your hands and knees and crumble up the clumps with your hands, smoothing it out a bit, and weeding out any straggling bits of grass. Get muddy up to your elbows. Feel so good you could cry.
Now, go get that hydrangea that you got for mother’s day (if you’re a mom, and if you got a hydrangea) and dig a big muddy hole for it. Drop the fledgeling hydrangea in it and gather the soggy soil around its roots. Do your silly little thing, where you pray for the plant to be happy and grow and make big beautiful flowers so that you will always remember the first mother’s day you spent without your mother, and how you survived it, and how she’s happy wherever she is now. Don’t cry—because you really don’t feel like crying. You feel good. You feel strong.
Then rinse of your shovel so it won’t rust, wash off your hands, go inside and peel off your chilly wet clothes and put on cozy dry warm ones. Go to the upstairs window and look down on your handiwork. See the beautiful brown soil, as clean as a newborn baby’s bottom (in a sense), and see the freshly-planted hydrangea drinking up the rain. Smile with satisfaction. Feel marvelous. Write about it. Press “Publish.” The end.