KCB is a professional gardener and friend who does wonderful work in the Greater Portland area. KCB is also an accredited Master Gardener by the Cooperative Extension Service and we are honored to have KCB as part of our Skillin's Garden Log family.
Reflections. 9/11/01, never forget. I won’t. I lost a cousin, my childhood friend, on that day. Still, I was lucky; I had another cousin who decided to work from home that morning, and his brother who, as a captain in the FDNY stationed close to The World Trade Center, was not on duty. Through the rubble, I did not loose sight of the reward.
Yesterday I had a special project. A new client had asked that I replace a shrub at her mother’s grave in Evergreen Cemetery. Evergreen Cemetery is a beautiful peaceful park. With its many Sugar Maples, European beech and Oak it is a walking leaf-peeper’s destination.
Two Dwarf Alberta Spruces stood as sentries on each side of the family memorial. This meant I had to find a twin. I began a search not unlike my annual Christmas Tree hunt. My associate good-naturedly pulled the less than huggable evergreens one by one so that I may eye them from all directions. Having made my choice, we ventured to the cemetery.
The September 11th of yesterday was just as beautiful a late summer day as the infamous one of 7 years ago. Appreciative of the day and site yet still mindful of the historic date, imagine my surprise to discover a grave of a 9/11/01 victim. Located just a few steps away from ‘our’ site I could not help but be drawn to the stone of the man who left the world way before his time. 7 victims had Maine, 3 or perhaps 4 from places further north, yet in one turn of my head the September 11, 2001 date illuminated. Was he on a plane? In the Towers? The Pentagon? A frantic ‘Google’ search, when I arrived home, gave me the answer. After just 7 weeks after moving to New York City embarking on a new career, he left this world. High Hopes, Lost Dreams.
I called my client after we were finished planting the shrub and left a message that the task was complete. Later that evening she returned my call to say she had driven by her mother’s grave. ‘Perfect’ she exclaimed. I apologized for the slight difference in height and width and explained how we spoke to the spruces and asked that the older and slightly bigger brother take care of his new partner. My client went on to tell the story how her mother loved Christmas and would search for the perfect tree. I laughed in understanding.
Next time you get the urge to stroll in a park, visit a cemetery. Portland’s are filled with history, not only of this city but this country. Cemeteries were the first public parks, beautiful green spaces to walk and reflect. Around each corner a story.
I do not lose sight that life is a gift. A gardener knows the seasons of life perhaps more than most. I will visit Evergreen Cemetery again. I seek inspiration from all facets of life even from those places originally meant for those whose life had ended long before.