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Graceful Gardener

Slice of Life 23:

Six rectangular apartment buildings sit parallel in unison alongside the gray pavement of the city street. Concrete sidewalk and a slim strip of patched grass acts as a partition between the buildings and the passing cars. The buildings are basic in structure, unremarkable and discreet.

I drive past en route to work five days of week. In winter months, the buildings remain forgettable; modest and plain. Most months, I reach 103rd street, passing the columns of four-sided structures without notice, without a glance to my right.

Spring time carries in a kaleidoscope of color to one building. One building differentiates itself come spring. Flowers emerge from the base of the ordinary, forgettable building. They spill out towards the concrete sidewalk like a wavy tide of sea upon the beach; undulating ripping tides of slim white daisies, fuchsia painted azaleas, apricot begonias, lemon daffodils and blushing dahlias, all scattered amongst shrubs and foliage the colors of avocado, lime, and forest green. Light wisps of feathery ground cover breeze below and between the dark foliage.

The others remain ordinary and rectangular. The others do not have her tender care, watching and nurturing a show stopping garden, which erupts like spectacular fireworks alongside the exhaust and fumes. She is responsible and with great care she tends to her garden. For whom does she labor? Her long white hair blows across her face as she pulls the intrusive weeds, tugging the weight of the stubborn hose, plots and plans her medley of color. Bent slightly, one can see the frailness of her. Often a flimsy hat will shield her ripened face from the sun. Thin clothing hangs and blows in the breeze. There is grace in the way her body curves over her garden, motherly and serene. She peacefully labors. I have seen her in the morning weeding, in the afternoon attending, in the evening hours of dusk, watering. Countless days and countless hours, she tends her garden.

I do not know her name or her story. I have never spoken to her. I simply drive by her, observing her daily routine. I notice her dedication and her elegance. She beautifies the pavement, adding endless shades of delicate color to the monotony of the city street. She tends her garden, splashing a dull, concrete world with brilliant hues of majesty. Her garden’s smile shines for every passing car. She alone makes an ordinary, rectangular building extraordinarily remarkable. I take notice and I am grateful for this graceful gardener.

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9 replies

  1. This is a wonderfully descriptive piece of writing. How great that you notice this woman’s labor of love and that you have such nice things to say about it. I could just see everything that you described. Thank you for bringing me to this amazing little space that stands out from the tedious concrete surrounding it.

  2. A beautiful piece of writing. Love the description of the building in spring, then the description of the woman tending her garden. You make me feel like I’m there (and long for the foot of snow that has covered my yard today to melt, so the spring color can come!)

  3. What a beautiful piece of writing, and tribute to gardeners…..Having no skills of my own, I admire them tremendously….for their craft, and their contributions….Oh, how I wish I had that talent……..

  4. Amazing piece! I feel like a lot of people can relate to , “I do not know her name or her story. I have never spoken to her. ” There have been some people that I have felt like I knew, only because I saw them everyday doing some of my daily things. I now have a picture of a beautiful garden in my mind!

  5. What beautiful words. Gardeners can be true artists filling a space with color and then tending to it with love and care. I, too, would notice her routine and now feel honored to have seen it through your eyes!

  6. What a beautiful description of the gardener you have the joy to observe! Your words make me feel like I am watching a river meandering downstream. The flow is just amazing! Also, it is SO important that we SEE those around us – no matter what they do in life and realize their importance. Thank you for bringing this to our eyes, as well.

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