the gardener

The gardener makes their way to the plot, pruning tools in tow, assistants following shortly behind like ants marching in a neat line to the destination

This land is all too familiar — formed and produced from the earth, her feet have felt every part of this soil, climbed every limb, hid in every piece of foliage, mouth spread wide in a smile of contentment and inhibition

She is of this place, every molecule of her is stamped with its coordinates, longitude and latitude of the location running thick through her blood; every experience situated in the wholeness of the earth, these acres, this family

Shared space, her once home now sits dormant, returning to its former glory before construction and domestication of wilderness — only remnants of buildings stand, their foundations crumbling

As nature takes a foothold once more, the gardener sighs for the past, remembering all the land has given to her and not taking any of it for granted

. . . . . . . . . .

All these things I see through observation:

the way her and the other gardener care for the land, two of the same in kind in likeness and fervor, and I myself, just a spectator in the arena of this majesty, inhaling and exhaling

I stop pruning, drinking from a bottle of cold water, thinking that the relief I feel must be what plants experience as their roots receive moisture after a season of drought — maybe this is also what the land feels after the people have gone, no longer filling the acreage with the laughter and frivolity of youth

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