Wednesday, September 12, 2012


2001 Memories

Just in from walking Karl the Wonder Dog. My first morning walk with him since returning with Gail and Alex from a vacation in Maine. Karl was pleased with the walk and the smells which result from falling temperatures and the critters of the fields and woods. As we walked, we could hear a local logger loading trucks that will head out shortly for mills in Maine. Vermont mills are limited now and I guess better prices come from hauling the logs out of state. We also heard the call of an owl. I do not know the call for sure as it was a single, quick whoo-o-o-o which might be the seldom used call of the barred owl.

911 is a memory that returns to me all the time. I know that not a week goes by but what I think about the events and everything that has transpired since. I left that day to go to Maine to buy some plants for the nursery. It probably seems odd to be buying plants at the end of a growing season but come Labor Day when things slow at the nursery, I find a need for a brief rest after working seven days a week since spring. It might seem more odd that on a day off I would be on the road before 4 AM but I had an appointment at 9:30 outside of Belfast and that's a haul from Vermont. I knew I had school buses to contend with and some unknown roads so that was my rationale for heading out so early.

My first visit was with a hosta grower who I had never met. He had a great reputation among my friends and I knew I would enjoy meeting him. As I arrived and shook his hand, there was something very strange about the welcome, something missing, almost as if it was not real. When I go on trips or vacations, I enjoy peace, and quiet is important to me so I avoid listening to the radio in the truck and avoid newspapers and any form of media. I had no idea what was happening in the world. The man introduced me to where things were located and he went back into the house as I meandered around, puzzled by his behavior, his cold salutation, his quick departure.

I got hung up looking at various gingers that I liked and spent some time with a variety of hepaticas and other wildflowers and then started picking hostas and other plants to purchase. The man's wife joined me in one of the shade houses and mentioned how terrible the events were. It was not until then that I understood what was happening. Their daughter worked at the Pentagon and there was no answer on her cell phone or work phone. The gravity of the situation had a different emotion to it and I shared my concern. My mind raced with thoughts of what happened and I felt a strange burden I could not explain. I continued on with my buying for another hour and by the time I had reached my limit, my host came back and explained the situation and said with obvious relief that he had just heard from his daughter and she was safe. I was greatly relieved too.

I headed cross country with a set of directions that was guaranteed to get me to my next destination on time. I was looking for a daylily grower in a tiny town away from the coast. By the time I arrived it was after three and I had kept an ear to the radio for a few hours. The grower's season was ending that day and his eagerness to close was even more intense due to a desire to get home to the latest news. I wished to spend more time but it was obvious that my purchases were less than important than the events of the world. I paid up, expressed thanks and hopes for safety, and I headed south to a hotel reservation.

That day was a long time ago but the memories have been repeated often and their intensity has grown. Yes, I am a gardener and I take great pride in what I do and the products that I sell. But I think often about our world and how it has changed since my earlier days. Much of what has transpired is confusing and although I continue to seek answers, I sometimes find a greater abundance of questions. Often I return to a quote attributed to Minnie Aumonier. "When the world wearies and ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden." Often we ask "why?" but there is no answer. The garden is a place to think and wait for answers.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the air is damp, the sky still lit with a slice of moon and a number of stars. The stars will extinguish soon but my thoughts of the past will continue.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also as George Africa
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm
And at the nursery where we always offer to help you grow your green thumb!

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Yes, there is always the garden. It does help, even when it doesn't provide answers.