Saturday, July 16, 2022

Park Warden

If the evening is particularly warm I orient my after dinner walk to visit a patch of southwest-facing boulevard that is both a garden and a place of escape.

Here, sedums and mosses thrive in ordered plantings around a hawthorn tree, amidst an array of igneous rock. Each planting has its own story, or at least the beginning of one, for its warden is quick to veer off, usually into the past, where he seems happier, if not more confused, a different man than he is today.

This man, like me, is about to enter a new decade. Him into his seventies, me into my sixties. The last time I set out to visit his garden, I stopped at the other end of the block to watch him, where I saw an old man fussing with a train set, that dependable world of comings and goings -- only this community contains no people or any sign of business.

His is a reserve, an eden, and this man, whose front yard is shaded by enormous trees, and whose partner waits an unregulated beat after I leave before hard whispering for him -- well, tears well up when I think of these two. Him because he is losing his mind, her for the work before her. 

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