My Mother, Gardening

From Joanne Jacobson’s essay, “My Mother, Gardening,” in the current issue:

511px-Alleged_location_of_Eden_crop“Can you see anything inside?” his companions cried out to the archaeologist Howard Carter when he opened King Tut’s tomb, secreted in the sands for thirty centuries. “Yes!” Carter called back, “Wonderful things!” It was November 4, 1922: two and a half years before my mother was born. Carter and the others dizzily wandered the chambers where the young pharaoh had been buried, his sandals exquisitely carved, braided in solid gold to simulate woven reeds. All of Tut’s organs, his heart and his liver, each kidney and his stomach, were embalmed and laid in stoppered canopic jars, then fitted into golden coffinettes. Coffers of fish and assorted meats, thirty jars of wine, four complete board games, one hundred thirty-nine ebony, ivory, silver, and gold walking sticks, fifty linen garments—for the Egyptians believed that earthly human affairs continued in the afterlife—were preserved in the airless, crowded rooms.

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