The dark rich soil felt warm and spongy between her fingers as the morning sun crept over the crest of golden sunflowers. Faithfully tending every plant, she trimmed, clipped and transferred fragrant greenery to a worn wicker basket. Pausing, she held a tidy bunch of thyme to her face and inhaled deeply. Closing her eyes she was transported back to when life was filled with hope and sunshine.

Thirty years prior, which felt like a lifetime ago, in nearly the very same spot, she tasted that earthy, minty herb for the very first time. Microscopic fibrous leaves clung to her gums, leaving her spitting and gagging. Her childhood palate unaware of nuance or moderation made her laugh as thyme had grown to become her absolute favorite flavor.

Grinning and gently running her hands over tiny vines, the fresh lemony fragrance overtook her. As a teenager, she had come to this very spot to escape the world. This horseshoe shaped garden had become a refuge from anxiety and doubt. Perched upon the red porous stones, she’d lose herself in the grandness of the universe while star-gazing and being serenaded by their neighbor and his Spanish guitar. This place had become a reliable constant, even in the most uncertain of times.

Carefully placing various bundles of fronds in her basket, she walked towards the kitchen. Her mind wandered, thinking of what to prepare with her haul. She learned how to make lemon-thyme chicken in college, it was delicious, had become a point of pride, and to this day remained one of her and her mother’s favorite dishes. She hoped she had all the ingredients on hand as she stepped through the shady door.

Rinsing her bounty in the large ceramic sink, her hands betrayed her once again as they trembled and ached. Now middle-aged, she found herself back in her childhood home. Loss of independence loomed as disease wreaked havoc on her body. The road before her filled with hazards and uncertainty.

At least the herb garden remained. At least she could still harvest thyme.

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Voice-Team (@voice-team)
2 months ago

No contest on “Time” would be complete without mention of this wonderful herb. A beautiful celebration of gardening, memory, the passing of time and the joys and sorrows of aging.

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
2 months ago

Hello Mel, welcome to Voice.club. This is a beautifully crafted story and I loved your use of thyme as your herb of choice for this prompt. It is dreadful to have disease taking over your life before you are ready for it. Including little tidbits of memory about thyme to show the passing of time was a nice touch. Well done.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
2 months ago

Welcome to voice club, Mel. I am wondering about thyme if we have it in our garden. Your first story is so lovely. Well written. Keep on writing. 

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
2 months ago
Reply to  Mel Unnau

You’re most welcome, Mel.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
2 months ago

I like the picture you have painted in words of this woman, working in her garden with peace and memories in her mind. There are so many beautiful, small descriptions of little things she sees, thinks and does in your story!

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