I’m pleased to share a sneak peek of my piece, “The Scent of a Daphne,” which will appear in the anthology Rooted: The Best New Arboreal Nonfiction. It’s not really a story about a daphne but it is a story with a daphne in it. It shares a snippet of my time in horticulture school when my husband was undergoing cancer treatment and I was trying to study plants. Mostly, it’s about the unexpected, precious gift I received during that time.
“The Scent of a Daphne”
“It was early September, my second semester of horticulture school, and class was about to begin. I stood outside the door on the narrow sidewalk that ran along the building. The day was warm and the door propped open with a wedge. Flies buzzed in and out. Students chatted and shuffled through notebooks while friends hugged at seeing each other again. I hadn’t made any friends yet, but that didn’t bother me. I had other things on my mind. Like the situation I had to explain to Tim, my professor.
He was an outdoorsy 50-something with wavy gray hair dressed in jeans, boots, and a canvas jacket. “What’s up?” he asked.
It was actually what was down. Down in my life. As in down and out, or beaten down, or in a downward spiral. My husband, Ethan, had just had an operation, not to remove an organ or clean out dangerous tissue or repair a ligament. The surgeon had installed a port in his chest, a small flat disc with a little tube connected to his artery so chemotherapy drugs could be injected into his bloodstream. He was about to be poked with a lot of needles a lot of the time and surgically inserting a port was easier on his body than poking the same veins again and again.”
Thank you for reading. There are so many amazing pieces in Rooted. When our editor sent me the galleys, I fell in love with the collection right off the bat. It’s now available at Amazon and through the publisher, Outpost19.
Karen Hugg is a writer and gardener living in the Seattle area. She is a certified ornamental horticulturalist and Master Pruner. When not digging in the dirt, she writes. She's been published in various journals, anthologies, websites, and more. Her life is happily hectic but she's lucky to have a patient husband and sweet children. Her pets aren't bad either. To learn more, explore http://www.karenhugg.com.