I want to go home.

On March 1, eighteen years ago, Paul and I finished the cross-country drive from Houston to Mountain View. After a year and a half of rekindling our relationship long-distance, I was leaving my life in Texas and moving to California to be with him. But when five days on the road were over, and I walked into the rather spartan apartment he’d rented for us, I wailed, “I want to go home.” Paul, being Paul, held me close while I cried, and then figured out how to soothe my fear and homesickness. And home became the life that we made together, first in the Bay Area, and later here in Seattle.

Each of the past seventeen years, March 1 was one of several anniversaries Paul and I celebrated.

Today, as I made my coffee and fed the cats and chickens and did chores around the house and cried more than a few times, I kept thinking I want to go home. But I can’t, because home isn’t Houston or California, or even our lovely old house in Seattle. Home is Paul’s chest to cry on when I’m sad or tired or scared (which I am much of the time these days), and the ways he knew to soothe me… and so much more. And I can’t have that home ever again.

The summer of snow peas

I told Paul that June was too late to plant snow peas.

(Not that we could have planted them sooner; we had put together the two new raised beds in our front yard in May, and finally had them filled with topsoil and compost in early June.)

But peas are one of Paul’s favorite vegetables, and if we were going to have a garden, he wanted to grow peas. So, as I was setting out chard starts, and hesitantly planting tomatoes and tomatillos in 60-degree June weather, Paul pushed a handful of dry peas into one end of the bed.

And while my tomatoes and tomatillos shivered in their bed, those peas germinated, and the tiny plants pushed their first leaves up. I was still unconvinced that there would be snow peas, as I was sure that summer weather — too hot for peas — would eventually arrive.


True summer never came to Seattle this year. Instead, we had spring weather most of July and into August. My three tomatillo plants made one single husk among them. Paul’s pea plants grew and grew, covering the trellis that we put up for them. The plants blossomed, and then — magic! — tiny peas appeared from within the wilting flowers.

snow peas

At first, we picked the peas one or two at a time, enjoying their sweet green crunch while watering our raised beds. Eventually, though, the plants bore enough good-sized snow peas that we could harvest an entire handful. (At the same time, I picked my single, $10 tomatillo, the last of the bush beans, and the half dozen cherry tomatoes that glowed ripely orange.)


Over the next couple of days, we plucked more snow peas from the vines, until we had almost half a pound — enough to make a meal of them. How would I cook these peas, the first substantial harvest from our brand new garden? Simply: sautéed with onion from our neighborhood farmers market, CSA garlic, homemade chicken stock and a little low-sodium soy sauce, served over brown rice. Need I say that they were delicious? And even more so because they were from our own garden.

had home-grown snow peas for dinner!

Snow peas from our own yard. In August. Next year, I expect Paul will plant peas earlier… but if he doesn’t, I won’t even think of telling him that it’s too late.

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats. — Albert Schweitzer