Nature's Alchemy


Agnes Jamison wakes to birdsong. She listens for a moment before addressing the poodle curled up at the edge of her bed. "Are you hungry, Jake?"

He opens an eye, wags his tail tentatively.

She rises slowly and walks to the kitchen where she prepares coffee and unwraps the muffin she bought yesterday. She and Jake sit outside watching the schoolchildren trudge up the sidewalk. Agnes breaks her muffin into pieces and feeds some to the dog. "I expect we'll mow today."


When the last of the children have gotten onto the bus, Agnes rinses her plate and mug and sets them in the drainer. "Come Jake." She wheels the mower from the garage and studies it.

"What are you doing?"

She turns to see her neighbor, hands on hips. "Good morning, Phil."

"You can't do that."

"Is it too early?"

"I can't..."

"Could you put gas in it?"

"I'll mow. After work."

"I can manage, dear. If you could..."

Phil scowls and picks up the gas can, lowers the nozzle into the tank.

"Now, if you could be so kind as to start it." Agnes says, when he's through. "Ben used to say it was hard to wake in the spring." She blinks away tears, remembering.

Phil puts one foot on a back wheel and pulls the starter. One...Two...Three. He takes a break and tries again. One...Two...

"There!" Agnes takes the handle and pushes the mower into the back yard. She delights in the scent of fresh-cut grass; admires the neat lines etched into her lawn. The dog walks beside her, nosing the grass. She looks to her left and cuts the motor. "Haven't you left?"

"I can't let you mow."

"Too late."

"I won't start it again."

Agnes pulls on the starter cord. The mower roars back to life.

"Why are you doing this?" Phil shouts.

"Because I can," she says.

"It's too much."

"Nature's alchemy changes winter blues into spring fever," she says. "And turns an old woman young again."

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was alchemy.

Labels: ,

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Nature's Alchemy

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Nature's Alchemy


Agnes Jamison wakes to birdsong. She listens for a moment before addressing the poodle curled up at the edge of her bed. "Are you hungry, Jake?"

He opens an eye, wags his tail tentatively.

She rises slowly and walks to the kitchen where she prepares coffee and unwraps the muffin she bought yesterday. She and Jake sit outside watching the schoolchildren trudge up the sidewalk. Agnes breaks her muffin into pieces and feeds some to the dog. "I expect we'll mow today."


When the last of the children have gotten onto the bus, Agnes rinses her plate and mug and sets them in the drainer. "Come Jake." She wheels the mower from the garage and studies it.

"What are you doing?"

She turns to see her neighbor, hands on hips. "Good morning, Phil."

"You can't do that."

"Is it too early?"

"I can't..."

"Could you put gas in it?"

"I'll mow. After work."

"I can manage, dear. If you could..."

Phil scowls and picks up the gas can, lowers the nozzle into the tank.

"Now, if you could be so kind as to start it." Agnes says, when he's through. "Ben used to say it was hard to wake in the spring." She blinks away tears, remembering.

Phil puts one foot on a back wheel and pulls the starter. One...Two...Three. He takes a break and tries again. One...Two...

"There!" Agnes takes the handle and pushes the mower into the back yard. She delights in the scent of fresh-cut grass; admires the neat lines etched into her lawn. The dog walks beside her, nosing the grass. She looks to her left and cuts the motor. "Haven't you left?"

"I can't let you mow."

"Too late."

"I won't start it again."

Agnes pulls on the starter cord. The mower roars back to life.

"Why are you doing this?" Phil shouts.

"Because I can," she says.

"It's too much."

"Nature's alchemy changes winter blues into spring fever," she says. "And turns an old woman young again."

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was alchemy.

Labels: ,

25 Comments:

At April 10, 2013 at 6:10 AM , Blogger Rambly T said...

Kelly how lovely - how the seasons can affect the way we do things and look at life. Three cheers for Agnes!

 
At April 10, 2013 at 6:16 AM , Blogger BetaRules said...

A lot of life in this short story. Nice one. (RogRites)

 
At April 10, 2013 at 7:40 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks for reading!

 
At April 10, 2013 at 7:41 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks so much for reading - Agnes is an old character from an old story, never published. It's nice to be able to return to her from time to time.

 
At April 10, 2013 at 7:51 AM , Blogger Bee said...

I love this, Kelly! I love Agnes's independence.

 
At April 10, 2013 at 7:54 AM , Blogger Ruby Manchanda said...

It runs deeper than words :) I loved reading it.

 
At April 10, 2013 at 8:08 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

I like it too. And I love your main character's independence as well: Just Divorced car!

 
At April 10, 2013 at 8:11 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Ruby - Loved your A to Z entry for today.

 
At April 10, 2013 at 9:55 AM , Blogger Maggie said...

Lovely story...her independent spirit. I also felt sad that she had to ask her grumpy neighbor for help. Then again, asking for help when needed is part of being independent.

 
At April 10, 2013 at 10:09 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Maggie. I don't think Phil's necessarily grumpy: He feels guilty that this little old lady is out mowing her lawn just after the death of her husband while he heads off to work. And I'm glad she's in a position where she can ask neighbors for help. Always a good thing.

 
At April 10, 2013 at 10:22 AM , Blogger Valerie said...

This scenario could easily be my 90+ grandma, only she used an electric mower with a loooooong extension cord! One or another of her family used to offer to mow for her, fearing she'd run over that cord. She never did, and never let any of us do the mowing either-and it was for exactly the same reason as your dear Agnes. It made her feel young and independent, and she loved the smell of fresh cut grass too. Thanks for this!

 
At April 10, 2013 at 10:29 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Valerie. I've used those loooong extension cords to trim the bushes with the electric trimmers. And I have cut through them on more than one occasion.

 
At April 10, 2013 at 11:03 AM , Anonymous steph said...

The details are mesmerizing. The muffin she bought yesterday, watching the schoolchildren, tears in her eyes. Lovely. Great piece, kelly!

 
At April 10, 2013 at 11:10 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Steph - I'm glad you liked it! Great piece on the three medals today!

 
At April 10, 2013 at 4:09 PM , OpenID crinklypages35 said...

What a wonderful read. I love the details and Agnes' determination. The dialogue is crisp and the last line made me smile. Great piece!!

 
At April 10, 2013 at 8:37 PM , Blogger Draug said...

Lovely piece!

 
At April 11, 2013 at 6:24 AM , Blogger Lisa Harvey said...

That last line is certainly true. Just what is it about spring that makes everyone, the old included, feel like kids? It must be the burst of color after a dreary white and gray season. Everyone loves colors.

Thanks for linking up!

(You know, I'm never going to get this ninja gig down right...)

 
At April 11, 2013 at 2:34 PM , OpenID kdillmanjones.com said...

Great last line!

 
At April 11, 2013 at 2:50 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks - But just read your entry this week. Amazing!

 
At April 11, 2013 at 2:51 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks so much!

 
At April 11, 2013 at 2:51 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Draug!

 
At April 11, 2013 at 7:21 PM , Anonymous brenda w said...

This is great! You made me happy.

 
At April 12, 2013 at 2:29 AM , Blogger kymm said...

I love Agnes and am jealous of her. Struggling to find the energy for the kitchen garden. I know it's spring, it just hasn't kicked in yet!!!
Love this piece.

 
At April 12, 2013 at 4:09 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Brenda.

 
At April 12, 2013 at 4:10 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Kymm. I keep bringing Agnes back in various stories, but I haven't yet found a place for her in something larger.

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home