Bringing the Outdoors In


This is a tiny story inspired by all those DIY shows that overuse the phrase “bring the outdoors in.”

Bringing the Outdoors In

Every morning she awoke to the sun shining across the mud room into her bedroom. The warmth of the sun lifted her from her bed, relieving her of the ailments that accompany being her age. After the percolator completed its symphony of bloops, she’d enjoy one cup—never more, of her favorite morning blend as she admired her friends just past the kitchen door.

At exactly 8 AM sharp, she’d slip her feet, bunions and all, into the vinyl gardening shoes she’d purchased down at Herschel’s Hardware. They were pink just like her favorite wave petunias.

Carefully, she’d remove her garden implements from the porch sized portable shed, and she’d slide on the vinyl gloves with the yellow daisy print whilst greeting her blossoming buddies with “Good morning, dolls!”

Knelt down beside them, the woman would strangle the tiniest of weeds that had sprouted up in the night, pulling them from their seats next to her friends.

“You don’t belong here,” she’d say. “This row is for the beautiful people.”

Admiring her work, she’d smile at the perfectly manicured rows of color. Her arthritic knees would grind in protest as she’d try to stand. She knew there wouldn’t be many more mornings like this.

As the sun rose overhead, she’d return the garden tools to their spot in the shed, and make her way into the mud room, slipping off her pink slip-ons before returning for lunch and a second cup of Joe.

Each afternoon, a new piece of dirt collected next to her shoes, slowly taking over the space one grain of dirt at a time. Her eyes never noticed it lying on top of the brown hardwood floor.

One morning, something was different. As she woke, the aroma of dirt that had been lucky enough to catch a soft spring rain wafted across her as the sun smiled down on her. The birds seemed, closer, louder, happier, perhaps.

Her old bones creaked as she rose from her bed, placing her feet on the cool floorboards.

“What….What is that….I…I…think I’ve….My eyes….Something is wrong with my eyes,” winced the lady as she moved steadily towards her bedroom door.

“That tree…It…How in the world?”

Just as she moved closer to the mudroom, she could see clearly. The room was full of dirt, trees, flowers.

“How…who…who did this?”

“This isn’t funny. I know I’m old, but you vandals. You come out this instant before I….”

Before she could finish her sentence the branch of the red oak reached down and pulled her closer.

She felt instantly comforted as it pulled her closer and closer, enveloping her in its soft, green leaves.

The woman began to ask if she was dreaming when suddenly the tree swept her up and swallowed her whole.

Just like that, the woman was gone, the tree making room for a younger, more beautiful specimen for it to gaze upon.

Several weeks passed before the new family could finally move in.

As the new mother looked onto the mudroom floor, she yelled into the kitchen at her husband:
“Geeze Louise! Will you look at all this dirt? What did that lady try to do, bring the whole garden in with her?”

“It’s okay, hun. We’ll get some new floor covering if you want.”

“Nah. I kinda like it. It gives it that woodsy feel. You can’t go wrong with nature.”


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