“When someone offers you something, take it and say thanks. That’s what my father told me, Pinkie.”
“Did he offer advice often?”
“Hardly ever. I think with this particular example, one of only a handful I can recall, his idea was to provide a bit of balance to my mother’s attitude. Mom looked for hidden meaning, when any gift came her way.”
“There’s merit in that point of view too, I think,” Pinkie offers, as we make our way to the edge the garden.
“True, but the fear of subterfuge, limits possibility, like this garden, for instance.
Her raised eyebrow, tells me to continue.
I tell her of the cemetery crew, back in the days when the Town of Dresden was exactly that and not part of Chatham-Kent. They came to our backyard with the offer of a mix of subsoil, top soil and faded plastic flowers.
We wanted a garden rather than a pool. The circular hole left after the pool’s removal, a foot or so in depth, needed filling.
The old truck was successfully backed through a narrow side yard and then further yet, its rear duals dropping into the hole.
Not a problem for the intrepid crew.
The tractor and backhoe used for excavations was brought into play, backed through the side yard as well, and attached to the truck with a long, heavy chain. As the tension increased, I suggested my wife and our two young children retire from their observation point on the back porch and I stepped back myself, calculating the direction that chain might possibly fly.
Afterwards, I asked the fellows if they’d like a case of beer as recompense.
“They wouldn’t take beer, Pinkie, but one fellow suggested a case of regular Coke. I remember his grin still when I dropped it off a couple days later.”
August has arrived with an edge of coolness after July’s heat, and with two inches of rain, as well, the plants have responded in kind.
“So many shades of green, and it’s alive with insects,” Pinkie observes.
“See those green plants with the little yellow flowers. They look like weeds, but they’re not.”
“That’s right Pinkie. They sow themselves, I pull a few but leave the rest. Same with the cilantro and dill, the sunflowers, and one year we had a prodigious yield of unplanned butternut squash.”
“What do you do with the sunflowers?”
“Leave them for the bees and the birds. When so much is freely offered, seems only fair. Besides, the birds eat bugs and I suppose their droppings provide benefit as well.”
“So even that pigweed has a place?”
“Yes, Pinkie, a place in my compost bin. Feel free to add it and, as you do, enjoy the therapeutic benefits.”
“Like exercise,” Pinkie says, bending to remove the plant, “and the sweet smell of living earth. I feel profoundly connected, too, and it has nothing to do with my cell phone.”
A breeze springs up at that movement. Pinkie observes its unseen hand for a moment and says, “Just think, your garden may never have had its start without the offer of free fill.”
“And you wouldn’t be here either, I think.” ◊