A purple morning glory catches my eye, trumpet lifted to the sun. Again, I read the wisdom of the lovely garden sign the bloom adorns: “We come from the earth. We return to the earth. And in between we garden.”

A gift to me from my daughter, Kelly, she appreciates the space her California yard offers for growing flowers and food.

Bougainvillea. Pomegranate. Orange. Lime. Lemon. Avocado. Guava.

She found the garden sign online and ordered one for me some years ago. Sure, I could ask her the year and occasion for which she purchased the gift. Yet, that’s one more thing I’ve forgotten, and she’s concerned about my memory.

During her most recent call from the west coast, she gently repeated what she said some months ago in a phone call. “Mom, I don’t think you should drive to Kentucky and West Virginia by yourself.”

“I drove alone down and back last October without incident,” I reminded her.

“Yes, but you couldn’t recall turns when we drove back from Kentucky this past July,” she said. “Plus, it’s not safe for a woman to drive alone.”

I didn’t point out that she drove solo from the San Francisco Bay Area last spring to meet her cousin Maegan to camp in the Joshua Tree National Forest. Just the two of them. Then she drove home alone.

“I’m taking Dad’s car again,” I said. “The GPS will guide me if I miss a turn.”

I sensed that wasn’t what she wanted to hear.

Truth is, I have another story to sow, and I can’t do that through social media alone. Besides, it’s the end of gardening season. October is a beautiful time in Appalachia to drive from town to town with my books in tow.

“Please keep me in your prayers, Kelly,” I said.

“I will, Mom.”

As they often illustrate in their lifestyles and choices, my daughters know we must take risks to grow. Some of their choices concern me. Frankly, some frighten me. So I pray for their safety as they grow.

I’m thankful for their concern, and pray they understand I’m still sowing and growing. Not just flowers, trees, and stories. But in faith and trust in God’s mercy, grace, and faithfulness to show me His ways and teach me His paths.

Eventually, as most people who earn their driver’s license as a teenager, if we live a long life, we will face the day when we retire the most used identity card in the United States of America.

Dear Reader, I remember the long in between season with my mother, her flower and vegetable gardens, her decline to the point where she could no longer cultivate roses or food. Or snap, string, and cook a mess of green beans. That was soon after she couldn’t remember where she placed her car keys.

Yes, the purple morning glory blooms again in my fading gardens. I’ve begun deadheading. The burn pile grows. God willing, I’ll sow more seed in Appalachia, the earth I come from.

Contact Iris at irisfarmletters@gmail.com