Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Unexpected Gifts by KCB

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 proud to tell you that KCB rules as the 2008 Maine Master Gardener of the Year. And we are honored to have KCB as part of our Skillin's Garden Log family.

While I write about many aspects of my life there is much I do not reveal. I do not have a family. I joke that I am an orphan. My parents were older than what was normal for at the time I came into this world. I had sisters that were more like aunts than sibs. It is said; only the good die young as all my cousins proved to be. I remain.

Earlier this year I wrote of the relinquishing of my dog. For 10 months Kayla, a rescued senior Golden Retriever began her life south of the Mason-Dixon Line. For 10 months she held my soul and very being hostage

She had won my heart before I even met her for the first time that unseasonable hot September morning. Kayla may have looked like a Golden Retriever yet possessed the aloofness not usually associated with her breed. I loved her and worked with her as much as I could.

Early on in our relationship I introduced her to the tennis ball only to find her totally disinterested, another less than ‘golden’ norm. Nevertheless the hard rubbery balls that are manufactured and marketed locally were soon a staple. Kayla accepting me was another matter. I found myself performing actions such as ‘holding’ doggy treats in my teeth to get her to look at me and hand feeding her from her dinner bowl to gain her trust. The animal behaviorist was #2 on my speed dial and my right hand thumb found its way to that key without even a glance. Animal lovers are crazy. Not unlike gardeners who too take their passion to extremes.

This writing is not about loss or sadness but of finding family in unexpected places, unforeseen gifts.

Christmas is the season of gifting. Many of us have had moments, perhaps months and years of monetary mayhem. Some are experiencing this dilemma for the first time.
At a very early age I learned that the appreciative look on the recipients face could be the greatest gift of all. It continues to be the thought behind the thing.

Last Christmas I received one of the most cherished gifts of all.

Christmas Day 2007 was a day made for memories. Sky of crystal blue, a fresh blanket of snow not yet tarnished by the pollution that is life covered the earth. The sun was gold and the temperatures a balmy high 30’s. A perfect day for a walk.

Winslow Park Camp Ground in So. Freeport was the destination of dog and girl. Our outing included the game of fetch with her latest neon pink ball. Her catch was right on and the game of returning the ball became part of our routine.

Wide open spaces and potential interaction with other humans and dogs would allow to test some of our most painstaking tasks. Kayla heeding to voice commands while off the leash would be a priority. At one point she decided to take her ball and go her separate way. Calling her did no good and the look on her face dared me to take one step for surely she would run in the other direction.

I recalled the words of the animal behaviorist to ignore Kayla when she misbehaved. Not to reward with attention but to simply leave her alone. Walking away I struggled to face forward. I made my way to a picnic table and decided to sit atop to take in the bay that surrounded the park. My radar was turned up a few notches in order to stay connected with my naughty Golden and it took all my strength not to turn in her direction.

The air was crisp enough to cause the nostrils to stick together. Other outdoor types snow- shoed, or frolicked, many with dogs of their own. As the sun slipped in the west it's rays bounced off the crusting snow and the land appeared to be glittered in silver.

In haling deeply, the sound of my own breath was suddenly interrupted. ‘Crunch, crunch, crunch’ came from behind. I focused on the ripples on the bay and the darkening sky while my heart hoped. Out of the corner of my eye I detected the russet coat of a Golden. Soon two paws touched upon the very bench seat that held my feet. Soon these same paws struggled to pull her weight to the top of the table on which I sat. The ball was held firmly in her mouth as she struggled to join me on my wooden stage. With one final effort she soon was at my side. More gently than even I would have imagined, she placed the ball in my lap followed by her head. If you have ever read love in a dog’s eyes you know the look that met my own. Tears welled then trickled down my cheeks. Were her puppy dog browns filling as well? A bond was made.

Earlier this fall, I was admiring an item I spotted at a local gift shop. A dear woman who herself, could be called a gift, was also in attendance. I showed off this most unusual treasure and jokingly said ‘this so wants to go home with me’. Taking it from my hand she made her way to the check-out. Feeling uncomfortable with this gesture of generosity I protested. This is something she wanted to do. The offer itself was gift enough; nevertheless, the item now is comfortable in its, and my, new home.

At this time, I am not able to reciprocate in kind; I just want her to know how special her gift of object and her support are cherished.

Recently I received a phone call from the loving daughter of a potential client. The caller revealed that mother has always been an avid gardener yet due to health issues can no longer give it her all. Daughter wanted to give the gift of gardening services. She gently added that more than likely her mother will be at my side, not for lack of trust but for love and interest. After we spoke, I felt that I could very well be the one who would receive a gift from the very person I am being hired to help.

The best gardeners learn from the best (and worst) of what the world has to offer. There is nothing like being open the wisdom and workings of those who were before. The gift of one’s life experiences. Don’t ever hesitate to share.

Thank you all for the gift of your reading………………..

KCB for Skillin's Greenhouses
December 24, 2008

No comments: