How to Bury Your Dog
How to Bury Your Dog
by Eva Silverfine
GENRE: Literary/Upmarket fiction
Lizzy has largely retreated from the world: she tends her adopted strays and goes to work, but she has forsaken lifelong pastimes and declines invitations from old friends. On the day she buries Happy, the abandoned basset hound she adopted years before, she learns a real estate developer is threatening the heart of her rural community—a tranquil pond and a relict stand of hemlocks. For Lizzy this is a magical place, hidden from the modern world.
Coaxed by an old friend to join a group fighting the development, Lizzy is reluctant—she wants to avoid both hope and him. But she realizes she can no longer keep the outside world at bay. As the battle over the development unfolds, Lizzy opens herself to two young neighbors who share her love of the natural environment—an awkward sixteen-year-old and an inquisitive ten-year-old. And as Happy’s elements return to the earth, buried memories find their way to the surface in increasingly curious ways.
Lizzy had planted another two rows of green beans late in the summer, and now the broad-leaved bushy plants dangled their tender fruit. She had relocated her grandmother’s recipe for dilly beans, and she needed young, tender beans to make it. Systematically working down the first row, she pulled the beans from the stems gently so that she wouldn’t pull the entire plant from the damp soil. Beans were still coming on, and she might be able to harvest more if the weather held another week or so.
The ground had largely soaked up the rain from the previous night, but the garden was a bit muddy. Toward the end of the second row, she stretched her arm to reach under the last bean plant and scraped her finger against something sharp—a thorn. She looked at her finger; a thin line of blood marked the cut.
Lizzy examined her hands—they were full of scrapes. She had dug in the earth this past spring so that she could again witness green emerging from seed, food coming forth from the earth, life continuing as it had for a time she could not fathom even if she could ascribe a number. Her hands held the scars of returning to gardening; they were scars of living. None of them—her hands, the vegetation, the earth’s surface—passed through life without scars. Bean leaves grew with the trenches of leaf miners embedded, oak leaves with the galls of wasps. These leaves persevered, mostly; they were scarred but still able to perform their miraculous photosynthesis.
She looked at the cut again. It stung. She had better go clean it.
About the Author:
From living above her parents’ hardware store in Brooklyn, New York, to living a mile down a gravel road in semi-rural Texas with her husband, sons, and the local wildlife, Eva Silverfine has explored a variety of urban to rural landscapes. On that journey, she earned two degrees in the environmental sciences, worked in an entomological research lab, and eventually retooled as a copyeditor. She freelances for several academic presses and writes personal narrative and fiction in the in-between spaces. Her short fiction has appeared in a variety of online journals; she has published a collection of essays, Elastic Walls: From Brooklyn to Texas and Points in Between; and her novels, How to Bury Your Dog and Ephemeral Wings, have been published by Black Rose Writing. Find her at www.evasilverfine.com and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Eva Silverfine will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.