“Where does the winter go after the snow?” I asked my mom as winter faded one year.
“Well, maybe God rolls winter up like a giant quilt and stores it in his attic.” My mom answered with a smile. “What do you think of that?”
“I don’t think so, Mom.” I laughed.
“I don’t think so either,” she said, “I suppose winter just goes right into spring like Thanksgiving goes right into Christmas.”
The daffodils blossomed like a chorus, waving in the wind. We picked as many as we could before their leaves curled up and died.
“Mom, where do the daffodils go when they die?”
“The daffodils never die, they just wake up for a short time and brightly wave to us, and then go back to sleep until next winter.”
That spring, we planted a garden. We planted cucumbers and carrots, corn and pumpkins, tomatoes and peppers. As spring marched into summer, we spent a lot of time in the garden, we mulched, we weeded and we got rid of a lot of bugs.
By mid-summer, many of the fruit were ready to pick. We filled our baskets with delicious green cucumbers, light green clad ears of corn, red juicy tomatoes and snappy orange carrots. We had to wait until fall for those slow growing pumpkins.
After the harvest, the plants remained for a time, they look lost and lonely without their precious fruit, and they eventually withered and died. The cucumber vines slowly slipped from the fence, the pumpkin vines shrunk and died, the corn stalks drooped and dropped to the ground.
“Where do the plants go after they die?” I asked Mom at the beginning of fall. Mom, who had been away, answered without looking at me, “I suppose God buries them in the ground where they wait for the next spring.” There was a sadness in her voice like the sadness in our lifeless garden.
Fall descended like the leaves from the trees. The trees seemed to be weeping sensing the sadness that had filled my house. My dad and I raked the leaves while Mom was away. “Dad,” I asked, “where do the leaves go after the fall?”
“We rake them up and put them in the compost pile for the mulch for next year’s garden.” He said matter-of-factly.
Fall flew past like the wind. And with winter, the garden seemed really dead. The holidays were quiet and sad. I went out to the garden after my grandmother’s funeral. The garden was cold, lifeless, just like how death felt. My mom came out to the garden and asked how I was.
“Mom, where do grandmas go after they die?”
“Oh, baby,” she said with tears rolling down her face, “Grandmas are carried to heaven by their Heavenly Father. And though we won’t see her again here, we will go to where she is later.” She put her arm around my shoulder to lead me back into the house when I noticed something on the frosty ground of the garden. I stooped to clear the dirt and frost. The first shoots of the daffodils were beginning to break through the cold, hard dirt.