My Faithful Gardener 

His callous hands that are the product of hard work and diligence dig into the soil. He has just unearthed a giant chunk with his pitchfork and placed it to the side. He delicately frees the wiggling captives from the soil and places them into a bucket. The rocks that he sees go into a neighboring bucket. The rest of the soil is heaved onto a makeshift window frame that has been adorned with mesh wire and placed on a wheelbarrow. He uses the prow to carefully separate the soil and slowly sifts it free and clear of any blemishes. This is a tedious and careful affair but every year he preforms this ceremony.

The garden that blooms every year is one of his hobbies, but more than that it has become a living symbol of the person he is. The leaves he carefully collected during the fall will be placed in the giant hole he has created and then with a toss the worms join in. He will place the fine sifted soil on top and turn it over several times. The garden always yields a variety of fruits and vegetables. There are always two rows of tomatoes, two pepper rows one red and one green, squash, and green and wax beans. The strawberries are always designated a row, the blackberries line the outside of the fence next to the raspberries. The chives are always close to the gate, as a final afterthought for any salad maker.

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The two apple trees always provide shelter for hot summer days, but the peach, and plum tree are nothing to sneeze at. The two walnut trees in the front yard do yield a good deal of nuts, but the competition with the squirrels is fierce. He has added several rose bushes next to the front yard fence, and the honeysuckle bush has attracted quite a few little visitors over the years.

The garden was always a fascination for any visitor but most especially to me. The garden was a perfect showcase of his talents. He was always dutiful and consistent, two qualities that allowed for his garden to flourish year after year. These qualities were not the only ones he was gifted with. He was always patient, loving, gentle and kind. Anything he found lost or foundling he tried to mend. My mom always said this is how she ended up with their lamb Eddy. Eddy was going to be put down, when my grandpa heard this he decided to adopt the lamb. There were other animals along the way a couple of dogs, a cat, and some bunnies.

It should be no surprise to anyone that he came to mend me. I was only six when my parents got divorced and I was 11 when my father passed. Grandpa had already raised five children he certainly had earned a chance to rest. But, I was a foundling and he saw in me troubles that he thought he could fix. He was careful like always with his first sprouted seeds. Protecting them from the harsh sun and providing them with nutrients and care. He would keep a quiet eye on their progress but never quite left them alone. He was always a constant warmth even on the coldest of days. I miss him always but especially as the spring weather arrives and the flowers start to bloom. I want to thank you Grandpa for being my faithful gardener. I am sure I would not be half the person I am without your loving care. Happy birthday grandpa.

Iridescent Heart

Oh my iridescent heart. Today while walking along the beach I heard a quick splash and hurriedly looked for the source. My mind which is always playful hoped I might see the fin of a mermaid. I have always looked for them. I think the quest began shortly after seeing the movie The Little Mermaid. I bought the VHS tape myself, with my money from chores and I considered it a sound investment. I didn’t realize how much it would change my viewpoint.  image

Ariel spoke to me in ways that most of the other Disney princesses did not. She was from a world surrounded by the ocean, like me. She had an incredible curiosity for discovering new things and places. This reminds me of when I used to look for artifacts in the backyard. I would plot out where to start looking and dig into the dirt searching for items left from a lost world. She wasn’t content in the ocean, she wanted something more for herself. I have always wanted this, “the something more” part. As most movie heroines goes she faced adversity. There was the fact she was a princess with rules to follow, she had the concern of letting down her father, oh and lastly the sea witch.

Ariel was a determined woman. She wasn’t going to let her sea friends stand in her way or let them convince her she couldn’t get what she really wanted. She was a true risk taker. I might also add she was the only one to make risks up to this point in the Disney princess world. Princesses like Belle (1991), and Mulan (1998) came much later. She was in a sense a lot like me. I would stay out all day and night building lean tos out of fallen trees. Playing capture the flag with the boys, racing my bike around the neighborhood like I owned the place. I never let the fact that I was a girl and most of my friends were boys get in my way. I always imagined my adult life would be the same way.  image

I suppose reality hit hard when I realized how many obstacles life and other people place in your path. I can say on quite a few occasions I have had to deal with the concern of letting down my family. The friends that seem so caring and wonderful, but also want to hold you back from what you really want. Then there are the sea witches. I used plural because I have met more than a handful of those. Ariel gave up everything she knew for something more. There are critics that will say she’s a sell out. I debunk this whole heartedly. Ariel made a choice to leave the known and to make something out of herself. The something in this case just happened to be turning into a human and a prince. She had dreams and she was willing to make the change. That is something I think everyone can identify with; especially girls.

Perhaps the Disney creators when building the character of Ariel had no idea the impact of her on others. Ariel to me as woman who grew up during the 80’s was someone I could respect. She was a rebel but she had a purpose. She wasn’t complacent and she didn’t lay there and wait for someone to rescue her. Ariel rescued herself. That is perhaps the biggest reason she is my favorite. I think that without realizing it she became a modern symbol of strength. She knew who she was and she knew it was now or never. I think in life at times I have been more like her pal flounder who was content to swim along the currents. It may be time for me to shed my fins and discover a new part of the world. ❤️