Friday, June 20, 2008

A Guatemalan Gardener

For some reason, I've been thinking about a particular gardener that I spent several enjoyable days watching years ago. My oldest son, Nathan, and I were staying in downtown Guatemala. The "hotel" was a group of bungaloes separated by lawn and gardens and walled off from the surrounding city sprawl. We were cooling our heels while waiting for research permits (we eventually headed back to Tikal to collect blood samples--for genetic analysis--from Swallow-tailed Kites). So we spent a bit of time swimming, sitting poolside, or reading in the gardens.

We had plenty of leisure to watch the gardeners (of which there were actually three). A typical morning's work for one of these men was to trim a vine growing up one of the stairways. It would require a bit of snipping here, a spot of pruning there. He raked up the trimmings and swept any flagstones or walks as he went, never making much noise or breaking a sweat.

The afternoon might have brought a small patch of lawn to mow. This was accomplished with an old mower like Grandpa had, with the spinning blades. Edging was done by hand. There were no motors, no gas fumes, no noise. I've heard tell of the attention to small detail of the Japanese gardener, but he has nothing on our little Guatemalteco. His was a simple employment, and one which he seemed to enjoy and at which he excelled.

To tell the truth, I haven't been just thinking about this gardener from time to time--I've been thinking wistfully about him, perhaps even envying him.


Dan said...

I remember Grandpa's mower. No fumes. Pretty great.
Lately, I've been relishing the simple things in life. Sometimes it's necessary to get too caught up in the world in order to realize what is really important. Watching the grass grow isn't a bad way to spend a summer.
One of my favorite lines in a movie (a little corny...) "You can spend your whole life looking for the perfect Cherry Blossom - and it would not be a life wasted."
I sure do enjoy your postings. Please keep up the good work.

Your Cousin Dan

Rick Gerhardt said...

Hey Dan:

Thanks for reading, and for letting me know that you are. I hope all is well with you and yours.