Sunday, April 28, 2013
LEAVING A LUSH GARDEN FOR THOSE WHO FOLLOW There’s a story in YESTERDAY’S newspaper that caught my attention. Heather Miller writes about her mother-in-law Nellie, a railroad worker’s wife who was frequently FORCED TO CHANGE RESIDENCE without notice by her husband’s transfers to other towns. Come spring, she would plant a lush garden and then just when, or sometimes even before it began to produce the flowers and vegetables she had cultivated, she would have to leave it behind for a home where the previous worker’s wife had planted no garden. No garden is what anyone would expect to find. Why would anyone plant a garden knowing that it probably would only be used by someone else? One year, Nellie added a new element. Just before she moved, she left a note inviting the next person to use her garden. Redundant you say? Well, she was surprised, a few moves later, to find a note and a garden waiting for her. She had started a trend that continued for years, people investing their time in gardens that somebody else might use. Nellie was a generous woman, willing to garden for others if she couldn’t have the garden for herself. But why did her note start a gardening trend when her generous gardening had not? Could it be that the note helped the garden recipient see the gardening activity as an act of hope rather than an act of despair, an acvt of intentional contribution rather than an act of probable loss?