Charleen shortens her description of her boxed garden of grass when she’s talking to her sister, Judith, about it, in their mother’s house, while everyone else is asleep. About how she really felt about those “first little seeds”.
She dampens her enthusiasm, only affords a brief glimpse of her passion for this project. She feels apart from her female ancestors, apart from her sister, apart from the woman she was when she was married. For most of The Box Garden, she feels apart from herself.
(Just as her sister, Judith, in Small Ceremonies, feels separate from the woman who lives in the house that doesn’t feel like hers, separate from the writing part of her who used to prefer fiction to non-fiction, separate from her husband who suddenly has unrecognizable artsy ambitions, separate from her children who are becoming more independent.)
The final segment of this novel is one extended scene with little opportunity for the kind of contemplative and reflective tone that comprises the bulk of the novel. Charleen’s observation could be about that scene or about her box garden that grew from grass seed:
“It occurs to me that there are some happenings for which the proper response is not comprehension at all, but amazement and acceptance.”
It’s all very ordinary. And amazing.