I managed to drag along my camera with me today and, as this was the first visit when I was the actual owner of B10, snatch a few shots of my little 15′ x 20′ rectangle of weedy possibility. Jane, looking like she knew what she was doing in a sun hat and gardening clothes, stood watering at the other end of the gardens while Eamonn and I inspected the weeds, weeds, and weeds that are growing on our little parcel of land. I tried not to feel intimidated while I gingerly stumbled my way through the overgrowth, encouraging Eamonn to look at lizards on our gate post and ladybugs on leaves all around. Why is it that boys, even little ones, must hit everything to see what happens when they do? Lizards run and ladybugs fly away, by the way.
I came today woefully unprepared. We brought a few beach buckets for Eamonn. I didn’t even have a pair of gloves. I pulled one medium sized weed to test the soil and my mom’s promise that the weeds I had described to her were the sort of weeds you wanted to have if you were going to get overgrown. True to promise, it eased out of the earth with a mere tug. Emboldened, I grabbed another variety and got a stinging sensation in my hand for my troubles.
“Gloves.” I muttered, and then got up to wander around some more, pretending that was all I’d intended the whole time anyway. I found a discarded Rubbermaid bin with some plastic bottles and other gardening items left in it and was gratified that other gardeners use children’s pails, too. The crate held a green one that Eamonn added to his collection. Once we’d explored thoroughly and I’d snapped shots of all the different types of weeds/plants I have growing, we packed up to head home.
Jane was still watering. She waved.
The nice thing about toddlers is you rarely need an introduction topic if you take one everywhere you go.
“Who is THIS little man?” Jane shaded her eyes with one hand while she continued to water.
“He’s Eamonn.” I said.
“Well, no, Eamonn…but…” I laughed. “It’s Irish. But I like it since it reminds just about everyone of the end of a good prayer.”
“Ah, I see.” Jane said. “And have you chosen a plot? Are you picking one out now?”
“No…no we have one now. We got the one early one. See those really tall weeds down there? Those are my weeds.”
Jane laughed again. “Oh, so you’re Al’s neighbor. He’s got B11 and he’s got the plot in A with the peach tree. Al’s a good neighbor to have. Say hi to him. He’ll help you out.” She stared at me for a minute. “Do you garden?”
“No. No…” I faltered a little bit, pulling Eamonn by the hand from wandering too far down the path. “Your plot is beautiful. It’s just beautiful and I just…” I have these moments these days where tears press around total strangers and I wonder what to say. I liked Jane. I liked her hat and that she’s clearly over 60 but sturdier than I am. I like that her features are strong and that her plot is neat and built up and has clearly been there a long time. I like that she stared right at me when I talked. “My mom. My mom is a masterful gardener and I just. She’s at home. We are caring for her at home. She has cancer. There’s hospice. I just…I can’t grow a thing. I don’t know anything at all. But I think the Lord blessed me and knew that this was what I need and that…” I choked again and ushered E away from the great dane who seems to live in the yard by the plots. “I really need to help things grow.”
Jane stared at me for a second, still, moving only the stream of water over her beds.
“We are going to have some talks, you and I.” she said.
“All right.” I replied.
“There’s Al,” she motioned with her hose, “you’d do good to go say hi to Al and I’ll talk to you later.”
I gushed and fumbled and headed for Al who said hello and we determined that, indeed, we’re neighbors. Eamonn and I headed for the gate and I stopped to take his picture in front of the sign that reads, “Where Green Thumbs Meet.”
“So you have a neighbor. A new gardener.” I heard Jane call to Al. “She got B10. Can you believe it? When it’s all weeded she’ll be ready to grow up a storm. B10, new and just picked it out.” She repeated the number a little wistfully. “Oh yeah, that’s a great plot.” Al agreed. He mentioned something else and they both laughed as Eamonn and I walked away and I tried not to beam too brightly over my good fortune.