Ms. Ruth

I like to bring my dogs to this abandoned lot by my house in the morning.
With a cup of coffee to eject me from my lingering dreams.
They seem to enjoy it,
On a rather obvious and simple level.
But I have ulterior motives.
In all honesty, I don’t just bring them there to see their tails wag or smiles break through their fangs.
No, they’re there to help me hunt for toads.
I still haven’t found any,
And I’ve been looking for quite some time.
Hope is starting to wear thin.
Today, though, there was an open invitation,
So we come across an old woman who catches my eye.
Back permanently bent, this geriatric gardener is caught tending to weeds in a forgotten field.
I asked her name and she promptly and courteously told me to call her Ms. Ruth.
I failed to catch her first name, but it was one of those archaic titles that begin with t.
We started to talk,
Using hollow words to fill the air,
Like bubbles,
Only lasting for a few seconds,
With the bursting sound continuously assailing my eardrums,
It started to dawn on me that I knew this woman.
From somewhere certainly,
But I was uncertain as to which where.
Unable to decipher her hometown from the small talk,
I resorted to less subtle methods and demanded:
“Who are you?
I feel like I should know you.
Forgive me if I embarrass myself,
I can’t remember where we’ve met.”
She smiled when she talked,
Like a true earth mother.
‘Child, I have been everywhere you’ve ever seen life break past the hard earth.
I am a gardener.
A cultivator of weeds,
A grower of thorns.
My name is not as important as the little bit of my that falls from my hands,
Into the soft caress of a rose petal.
Because that little bit of me spreads,
Fragile like a soul.
But it spreads to the reaches of the earth that I could never hope to walk in one life.
The only reason you recognize me is through my works;
There is no deception in my craft.’
There was no sound of popping after that speech,
To be sure.
In it’s place, there was a hollow sound,
Deep from within me,
That resonated with the sounds and scents of a gardener.
“Thank you Ms. Ruth.
I’ll be going now.
I just remembered that I have an appointment,
To meet with a man who can tell me where toads live,
How they live.
You let me know if you see any, though, won’t you?
You’re bound to come across plenty in your line of work.”
My dogs and I marched back across the field,
That now I guess you would call a garden,
If you were concerned with being honest.
The dogs were still just as happy to walk on the asphalt as much as the grass.
But they won’t know the satisfaction of holding a warm toad in the palm of your hand,
And laughing with triumph over the tumultuous arena that is a garden.

Leave a Reply