Love on the Septic Mound

Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.

Robert Browning


by Kelly Salasin

Can love be found on a septic mound?  On my seventeeth anniversary it was.

Seventeen years,  how did that happen?  That’s for old couples.   Are we?

Grow old along with me,” read the card I gave to my husband the year we moved to Vermont.  We weren’t even thirty yet!  Have we already done it- grown old?

The best is yet to be,” the card finishes.  Is this the best, I wonder?  It can’t be.  The kids are still young.

The people pictured on the card have a lot more grey, and the time to sit on the porch swinging in the sunset. 

Maybe the key is in the phrase  “to be,” I  ponder.  As we age, perhaps we learn, we reliquish, more and more to “being” rather than doing.   I know we haven’t managed to get there in seventeen years.

Why did you have to mention the septic mound?” my husband asks about the email I sent to close friends, sharing his early morning anniversary surprise.

Because that’s how it really happened,” I answer, as we both crawl into bed too early on our anniversary night.

Why couldn’t you just say a hill or something?” he counters, pulling an extra cover over each of us.

Because it wasn’t just a hill, it WAS the septic mound,” I say, snuggling in beside him.

That’s the beauty of it, don’t you think?” I continue, springing from my pillow, onto my nightly soapbox.  “Why do we have to make it ‘nicer’?” I say. “ The love IS on the septic mound!  It’s in the  dirty diapers, the laundry and the dishes, the fights and the bills.  If we have to embellish it, than we miss the real thing, the real love.”


“I guess,” my husband says, acquiescing to two decades of my ‘let me enlighten you’ moments and hoping that will make me stop.  It doesn’t.

What could be more beautiful than you waking at dawn,” I say “to fashion the words, ‘I LOVE YOU’ in dried grass clippings on our septic mound?

Thanks,” he softens, kissing my cheek, and pulling me down beside him again.

My favorite was the driveway,” I add, before we both begin to doze off to sleep.  “It’s still there, even with all this rain.”


GROW OLD WITH ME,’ read the piles of sawdust heading down our road toward the pond.


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