I went to the garden the other day for solitude. To my surprise, five children under 7 ran up alongside my car, squealing about the dogs and can we play with them?
Two girls and three boys were looking for something to do while their families set up for a big wedding at the community center. They chased the dogs in happy circles and were hugely comical trying to help me move the heavy wheelbarrow with a flat tire. They were so eager!
A fellow gardener had ordered a truckload of leaf mulch and my mission was to spread this wonderful black soil around my irises, radishes, spinach, broccoli, red cabbage and day lilies. I had lots of help. There was great competition for the big shovel. Then everyone wanted their own trowel, so more were found.
“Tuck those plants in, put that nice black blanket around them, like your mommy tucks you in at night.” And so they spread the leaf-gro around the young plants then helped me water.
Before they left, I showed them how to pull a carrot. One of my all time favorite things is to watch a child discover a natural miracle. It’s so rewarding to see the astonishment on their bright faces when the familiar orange food comes out of the soil, and after hosing off the bright orange root, they experience the taste of real food.
I was looking for solitude when I went to the garden. But I received a different kind of gift. I guess we don’t always know what we need, until we get it.