Joys of a garden
I wanted to grow a garden but the rain would not fall. I drew water from the well every day but the ground stayed hard, so I waited for the dry season to pass. Six months went by. When the rains finally came it took two weeks before the hard ground had softened enough to grow anything other than the thorny trees and scrub that seemed to be imperishable.
When the rain kept falling for those two weeks it made the soil rich, earthworms came to the surface and then I knew it was the right moment to sow. Everything I planted started to grow. But then, when it did, the donkeys came into the yard and ate all they could.
So I built a fence around the property, and though frustrated for what I had lost was happy for what I had saved. My crops grew. Blossoms produced fruit, and the vines became laden. I came home every day happy but before I could harvest, before anything was ripe, monkeys found the garden and ransacked it one afternoon.
I came to despair. I felt that I had lost so much that my resignation was justified. I no longer wanted a garden.
Then, the lockdown came. We had reasons to expect it, watching dominos around the world fall down, but still it came as a shock. We were told to stay home and move no farther than our yard. They say a quarantine is for 40 days, that is how longs the old sailing ships held their crew in the harbor, flying a yellow flag until they were cleared to come ashore. That’s what it felt like at first, like I was bound to a ship moored in a harbor, neither free to sail or free to land.
My garden regained its appeal. I spent my time nursing back to health the plants the monkeys had torn. I weeded and watered in the hot April sun. I made shade from the coconut fronds to cover my plants in the midday burn. The donkeys and the monkeys only ever came in the cool of the day, early morning or late afternoon and with a little bit of timing I could be there first. They walked their constant paths and I greeted them and bade them walk by.
As the lockdown continued the dry season returned and soon there was no reason to leave my yard at all. The sun was too hot for work and I could see the donkeys standing in the shade by the side of the road, with watchful brown eyes. The monkeys were beside them, pretending to ignore me. I wasn’t going anywhere, I had grown right into my garden.