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Shout Archive


The Gardener by Lifes Pilgrim

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Chapter notes:
A drabble,really. Just something to share.
Her garden wasn’t much. Her own small patch of order wrought from almost barren chaos in a corner of her yard. She knelt down on her knees and started to pull weeds as the smell of the rich damp earth filled her nostrils. Barely six months ago, so poor was the soil, even weeds had difficulty growing here, any water would just pool up and wash away instead of soaking into the ground. She had become exasperated with the condition and so she cleared it, composted, fertilized, watered, prayed, and even cursed the ground trying to restore its life sustaining qualities. She paused and surveyed, with pride, her flourishing plants of peas, lettuce, tomatoes, cantaloupe, and cabbage.

The soil needed tilling and she had her hoe close at hand, it would keep her hands cleaner, she knew, but it was so much more gratifying to turn and work the soil in another fashion. She reached out and buried her fingers deep into the cool dark loam. It had rained last night, turning the weather cooler, and her fingers were chilled as she buried them in the cold damp; digging deep furrows with her hands. Turning them black as the mud clung to them. She continued for a while, like an overgrown child making the ultimate mud pie.

Her mind wandered as she realized the winter solstice had just passed and she would soon be reaping the small bounty she had grown and nursed along during the mild winter. Soon she would be working on the spring planting, continuing the cycle of the ages. Life, death, the soil being enriched from the decayed plant matter that would be added yet again to bring forth new plants and new life in just a few more weeks. She remembered going to her grandparent’s home in the country as a child, picking fresh ears of corn off the stalk, shucking the husks off to feed to the cows as her grandmother would prepare the wonderful meals that always marked their visits. Her family of farmers going generations back, her continuing the connection to the land in her own small way now that she lived in the city. Continuing the connection to the land and the cycles of nature as her ancestors had done for eons before her.

She thought about her own children, just a few feet away from her in reality, but the first generation in her family that had not grown up with a relative currently living on a farm. Did they feel this connection through time? Had she somehow deprived them of this connection? They had been raised in the city, supposedly to provide them with a better education and greater opportunities. Had something deeper been lost or denied them? Was this small patch of land enough to bring home the lessons of the ages, fostering that deeper, almost spiritual part of themselves? She could only hope. She realized that she was honoring those ancestors in her own way.

The cycles would continue, no matter what. She had instilled into another generation memories that may not mean much now, or in the near future; but time would tell and truly show itself in the future, just how deep the lessons and connections would run. She had done her part. She stood up, her hands coated in black dirt that she would now spend the rest of the day trying to clean off. Once the dirt under the nails was a mark of a poor person, someone who did not have the means to pay someone else to do the hard work of life. She thought of it now as a mark of pride. She was connected to those who came before her, truly connected to the land, nature, and whatever deity one chose to believe in. She went inside to wash, content as she had not been in a while.
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