In a small country town sits an old cottage nestled comfortably between a barber shop the Country Women’s Association hall. It turns 100 next year. The white paint has faded to a fashionably rustic colour. The cottage is not tired, but content. It has seen two world wars, industry thrive and fall and the towns’ population do the same. It has opted for a Zen approach to the changing world.
The backyard is almost square, slightly longer on the east side next to the barber shop. A small orchard grows to the left and a veggie patch has gone to seed to the right. In the back corner there is a large fig tree with violets and daisies at its feet.
Here, resting against the buttressed roots sits Alma. It was hard sitting down, her knees not what they used to be. Getting up would take longer. She usually fell the last few inches to the grass but George always caught her, his strong frame sitting her upright.
For months Alma cried, but now she chats happily resting against George, telling him about the neighbours and forgetful Mrs. Kart down the road. “I never even lose my glasses George, still got it,” as she taps her right temple, and the nosey real estate agent who invites himself over for tea three times a week to ‘see how I’m going’. The nerve of some people. She trails her arthritic fingers over the soft yellow daisy petals thinking of George’s golden coat, she stares at the violets, reminded of George’s big, adoring eyes.
The landscape, if you care to think about it, is often a pretty reminder of a sad or even abhorrent history.
Nature takes over, covering our sins with her tendrils, rhizomes and petals. Sometimes she makes a beautiful reminder like the poppies of Flanders Field in Belgium. The fallen soldiers gave nitrogen, iron, oxygen and more to the ground, who took it, transformed it, and threw up thousands of blood red poppies in return.