Just Write: One Spring Day

May 7, 2013

Just Write.

I can hear the rhythmic cadence–the thunkthunkthunk of their bodies as they twist and flip on the trampoline, airborne. Snow now melted, it’s time to catch the wind, time to hurl into weightlessness.

Miss D.’s friend Hannah is tentative, hanging around the edges and taking shallow, cautious jumps while D. and M. pump their coltish legs, seeking higher ground.

Miss M. scampers in from the backyard, grabs her father’s giant inflatable exercise ball and hustles back outside with it. He probably wouldn’t be pleased with this development, but I allow it. If the damn thing pops, it pops. It’s that kind of day. The squeals and giggles and thunkthunkthunk are far more precious.

I outline a plan for the garden. It’s silly to do this–I should just go to the garden store and pick out what looks green and promising. And hearty. Hearty is good in Colorado springtime, when things change on a dime. I crave order, so I list: 2 tomato plants, 2 cucumber, 3 lettuce (probably a mistake this early), snap peas, carrots, radishes that only I will eat. Basil. Lots of basil, because in summer, Kitchen Counter Pasta happens.

Reminder: plant mint in a separate container. I look out the window at the garden; damned if there isn’t mint growing back–the only flash of green in an otherwise brittle landscape. Mint is not a quitter.

I ponder chiles. Do I dare grow Thai bird, or should I stick with jalapeno? Is it a sad point in your life when growing something in your backyard qualifies as daring?

The sliding door whacks open with force–has to be D. I turn around and there she stands, stricken.

“What, Bun? Hey–what is it?”

“Mom, I have blood on the back of my shirt.”

“Jesus! Are you hurt? Are you bleeding? Who is bleeding?” I’m off the chair now, motoring towards her.

She holds up a hand. (Dear God, the hand. I’m getting it with stunning regularity now.)

“No, mom.” Her eyes roll around in her head and then turn to rivers. “It’s the bunnies. The babies. I tripped catching the ball and I fell and landed on one. They’re dead. All of them. I couldn’t see them in the yard because the grass isn’t green yet. When I landed on it, it kind of…exploded.”



Clothes are changed. Children are ordered, “Inside. Now!”

My daughter is eerily stoic, almost calm. This is my drama child, the child who howls at the moon over a stubbed toe. I pour her a glass of ice water, deliver it, lightly run my fingers through her hair.

“Hey. You okay?”

She gives me the dead fish eye but doesn’t brush my hand away. “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”

I order three girls to scrub their hands and parcel out sympathy Goldfish crackers. I lurk in a corner, peering into the den, checking the emotional temperature in the room. And then I realize.

Hannah doesn’t know about the bunnies. Miss M. doesn’t know about the bunnies. Those girls are fine–aces, even. Somehow, my older daughter contained this, locked it somewhere deep and far away from little sisters and cautious friends.

I drag out the snow shovel that I vowed I was done with until next winter and haul it to the backyard. Three fluffy, softball-sized bodies plunk into a garbage bag. Spring is not kind in Colorado. Especially to baby bunnies who get served up hard frost instead of green grass.

Later, over a stiff drink and the Kentucky Derby, I tell my husband.

“Holy crap,” he says, palming his forehead. “Just………”

“I know.”

Nothing is more welcome than distraction via horses.

Derby day is big here, and I’ve researched, made my choices, placed my bets. In this area of sportsmanship, my husband defers to me. In seven years, I’ve hit two trifectas and two exactas. Still, I’m nothing like Gramma Rhetta, who could pick the winning horse just by eyeballing the contenders as they walked to the gate. Gramma was spooky good. It makes me happy though, that I inherited some of her spooky. Just a little. But I’ll take it.

The race always passes in a flash. I holler and jump up and down and forget I have a bourbon in my hand so it sloshes onto the couch.

Two of my horses win and show. But the horse that places, Golden Soul, comes from nowhere. When I placed my bets, that horse was at 50-1 odds. He wasn’t mentioned as a contender–mentioned at all, even. A ghost horse, underestimated, overlooked.

Watching the media coverage during the aftermath, I become agitated.

“Garggh!” I yell. “I get it–Orb won, but he was supposed to win, so shut up already! I want to hear about that horse. How did that horse grind it out on a track that’s running like freaking gruel and do something nobody expected? That horse wanted it. That horse has chops. That’s a tough little bastard.”

My husband gives me a lopsided grin.

“I know.”

“I know you know!” I say. “Stupid media clowns. They don’t understand anything.” I launch off the couch and stalk upstairs.

“Call me down when they decide to tell a real story.”

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Katybeth May 7, 2013 at 5:09 am

Mint isn’t a quitter and neither was Golden Soul. He didn’t wait to be picked. Women simple pick up the shovel, quietly bury the bodies, and go on….seems like your daughter is learning this. Bittersweet. Great read.


Mary Lee May 7, 2013 at 6:48 am

Miss D’s reaction to that horror is quite amazing–much better than I would have done. As my husband often says, “That’s the kind of person you want to have in the foxhole with you…” What can I say but BLESS HER HEART! That was rugged!

Had to laugh at The Hand. Oh yeah. You’ll be seeing a lot of that.

Grandma Rhetta sounds like someone out of a Janet Evanovich novel. Could she give a stink eye?


TKW May 7, 2013 at 7:19 am

Mary Lee,

Gramma was Southern. They have a patent on the stink eye. :)


Abby May 7, 2013 at 7:34 am

Although we’ve buried many animals, that story is still kind of horrifying to me. Wow. But yes, Miss D is a trouper and also compassionate in keeping that news to herself. ;)

As for you, BE MY FRIEND! I am also making the blueprint for my garden even though it will probably be the same as last year and I’ll be lured in by something new and different the second my mom and I walk in the greenhouse. It’s fun, and I can’t wait until we go in a couple of weeks.


Sarah Koci Scheilz May 7, 2013 at 7:52 am

This is my first spring planting herbs and I’m not sure I followed the rules either with mint — yikes.

Love your words here, and your writing style too. Glad I visited today! :)


Alison May 7, 2013 at 8:51 am

Exploding dead bunnies and ghost horses.

Never a dull moment. :)


TKW May 7, 2013 at 8:56 am


Isn’t that the truth. And spilled bourbon. :)


Arnebya May 7, 2013 at 9:28 am

Bunny blood explosions need not be told to little sisters and friends. Aren’t you glad she held it? And you should be more careful with your liquor.


Jamie May 7, 2013 at 10:36 am

I love a good Miss D story, and that was a great one!


Julia May 7, 2013 at 10:51 am

Your poor daughter and the bunnies, she’s a tough one. Stopping by from Just write.


Biz May 7, 2013 at 1:09 pm

I didn’t realize until a few years ago that certain herbs have to be contained and not share a pot – I always wondered when I planted two herbs in the same pot one would flourish and the other died!

Aw, so sorry about the bunnies, but what a brave girl to keep it from her sister and friend!


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me May 7, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Exploded? My mouth is still hanging wide open. As in No. Way.

Mint…glad to hear it’s not a quitter. I have a plant on my deck that wants to throw in the towel. Wondering if repotting him would help…I really want that bugger to survive after the Gerbera bit the dust.


SuziCate May 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Lot’s of excitement at your house, and no quitters!


alita May 7, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Your life is a wild meal! I enjoyed every single morsel of your day.

Also, the #tag- bunny assholery made me chuckle.


Barbara May 7, 2013 at 6:36 pm

I know, I know. Where the hell DID that horse come from???? And then I looked over my cheat sheets again….and there he was. All over the place, picked by everyone to run 4th or 5th. Huh. Unlike me to miss that one. Oh well, like you, I picked the other two. However one girl at our table DID pick Golden Soul to place. I never did like her.


TKW May 8, 2013 at 6:09 am


You crack me up! I must have read different “expert” opinions because I didn’t see one who had that horse higher than 8th. Oh well, that’s what makes it so exciting, right?


jacquie May 7, 2013 at 7:20 pm

your daughter is awesome – such poise and wisdom at her young age. I suspect if she was a race horse she would have a heart like golden soul :)

couldn’t agree w/ your media comments more – wake me up when though probably better phrased by “if” you get to the pertinent story. let’s have another bourbon shall we?


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes May 8, 2013 at 1:45 am

Oh wow…
Poor bunnies, poor Miss D.


elizabeth May 9, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Could I please borrow some of Miss D.’s poise? Pretty please? Because I could definitely use some of that bravery in the face of dead bunny blood on one’s shirt.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: