Tuesday, January 17, 2012

the stranger in the picture is me

Ever since the genesis of my gardening adventure, every single summer I get to select some seeds to plant in the garden. This year I chose pumpkins, last year I chose pumpkins, the year before that I chose pumpkins. Starting at age three, I have had a special love for pumpkins. Probably because I planted that one seed just like my Mommy showed me.
Over the hedge I can hear my older brothers Cameron and Jay splashing, screaming and diving into the water of the pool in our backyard. The chicken coop, down the hill, is full of the family chickens- auburn and smoky colored. Mixed in are a few cream-colored hens. Beyond the chicken coop is the sheep pen, where the lamb twins Tina Sparkle and Fashlight reside with our goat Gideon. My little brother Henry and I gave them those outrageous names. They murmur noises of contented thanks as we throw handfuls of alfalfa into their pen.
 Small-sized Henry crawls along after Mom and me as we walk through the garden, admiring the vegetables that summer’s bounty has produced. The big bright pumpkin in the picture is one I planted from a seed the size of my pinky fingernail. Mommy tells me to point at the result of my efforts for the photo op. Mom wields the camera and: click, the pumpkin memory is saved forever.  
Henry, my constant sidekick and accomplice in seed planting, is not even in the picture. He has plopped himself into the dirt and is happily occupied with the more engaging potato bugs and woodchips.
I get out of the pool, dry off and put on a pair of undies. Swimming in my nothing is my customary afternoon pastime. Playing in the pool is always followed by watermelon eating. The watermelon tastes of chlorine and watermelon-y goodness. My belly is full of that sweet fruit and some of its seeds. Cameron and Jay tease me, “If you eat the seeds, you’ll grow a watermelon in your tummy.” As a three year old, I believe their words with childish innocence.  My hair is bleached blonde from all the chlorine and sun exposure and I am young enough not to go to real school. Swimming, playing, and gardening with Mom and Henry fill my summer days.
Looking back on it now, I heave a wistful sigh and remember how simple it was to be a three year old in my undies, in the garden that I helped create.  

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