After being fingerprinted, twice, and posing for a mug shot, I really started wondering what, exactly, I had gotten myself into. A month went by. I wondered why I hadn’t heard anything. My imagination went on overdrive. I kept looking at my finger tips.
Have you looked at the tips of your fingers? The underside, fleshy part? There should be oval ridges going round and round and round in a pattern unique to only you. Ruffles Potato Chips have more ridges than my fingertips, which are as round and smooth as a baby’s bottom.
The beautification committee was finally notified. We were officially sworn in, which meant we had to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) test, which is another story for another time. I stood. I raised my right hand. I swore to do my duty, then shook several sets of prints, I mean hands, and met two very fine women, from different walks of life, who would soon become my partners in dirt. The three of us had a common vision and ended up on a subcommittee together. Each brought her own set of skill to the committee we agreed to work on. Though none of us knew each other beforehand, we managed to plow ahead, set up a plan, research, write, and draw up ideas.
Last summer, we took a field trip to other communities so see what they had done. We talked to others, took pictures, formulated talking points, then shared them with the whole committee, city employees and elected officials, and finally started talking to members of our community. The city gave us a go-ahead IF we could get enough participants to fill fifteen garden plots.
On May 4, we held opening day of our community garden! The plots were dug and tilled and plotted by city workers. Paths were laid between plots. A sign with our rules and regulations was posted, and Home Depot donated a pick-up truck filled with bagged soil.
It was a happy day for the three of us. There was a time we did not think it would happen, even though we all shared a common vision for a community garden. The seeds were sown and in the process a dozen or so folks in our town were granted a small plot of land to grow vegetables for a nominal fee. Most of these community farmers live in condos, apartments, and trailers, with little or no space to plant their own vegetables – and, of course Tom and I, who have two acres and too many deer! We took a plot, as well, and look forward to tomatoes and peppers and beans!
When you put your fingers into good, rich earth, no matter what your fingerprints look like, good things begin to grow and flourish and good will is born. I felt good, through and through, as I watched several gardeners start to plant, work the soil, measure and look toward the sun. They were smiling and talking, enthusiastic and hopeful.
My favorite gardeners were a duo; a young woman of about thirty years and her grandmother. They were sharing a plot and came ready to work. The grandmother had sewn matching aprons with three deep pockets in each for their gardening chores. It made my heart leap for pure joy of it – for a good thing was beginning to happen. A garden was starting to grow.
Another gardener was planting a Mexican garden with corn and hot chili peppers and cilantro. Rows of lettuce have suddenly sprung up, and little sprouts have poked through the soil. There are pinwheels in some of the patches – to scare the birds and rabbit-proof fences, one with a door.
It was really worth all the nonsense of fingerprints, for this little community garden of ours is already nurturing souls – and will soon feed them as well with the riches of the soil.
Sometimes, prints lead to paths and paths lead to gardens. Don’t you agree?