On Saturday I bought a wheelbarrow. I wheeled it right out of Home Depot, up to our car in the parking lot. Hm. Do wheelbarrows fit in the back of a Prius? Perhaps I should have considered that question. Surely it would fit. I opened the hatchback, put down both of the seats, and hefted the thing in. Well, it wasn’t going to fit in that way. I turned it over and tried again. Not that way either. There was an old hispanic man walking by. He paused and then gestured helpfully, questioningly toward the wheelbarrow. Can I help you, he seemed to be saying. I was a little wary. It’s best to be a little wary. But I was alone in a parking lot with a wheelbarrow and I did need help.
“I’m not sure it will fit,” I said, not even sure if he spoke English, but stepping back to let him try. He hefted it in, carefully squeezed it this way and that. He got it mostly in, but the hatchback wouldn’t close. He held up a hand, and I think he said, “string,” before he went back to the Home Depot entrance and returned with some string. He secured the hatchback to something so that it would stay mostly closed.
“Thank you very much!” I said with a smile. And he smiled back before ambling on his way to wherever he was going.
At home, Silas and I filled that wheelbarrow with soil from a pile that our neighbors had had delivered to their front yard (with their permission of course). We wheeled it right across Huntington Blvd, dumping it on our garden space where we will plant tomatoes and basil and arugula and whatever else.
Already, the garden is growing stories. I’ll always remember the old man in the parking lot now, when I look at the wheelbarrow. Gardening is always about a lot more than the food that grows in them. It’s about the time spent out there, and the way the plants look, getting bigger each day, and the smell of hot dirt and dusty leaves and water. It’s about insects, and neighbors to share the produce with and the plain mystery of how anything possibly goes from seed to plant.
A friend of ours said that she’s considering going into eco-psychology. After our initial shock that that’s even a word, she explained what it is, and it’s really just a fancy word for counseling people to spend time in nature and feel better because of it. That’s funny, really. We used to spend time in nature, because that’s how we grew our food and all. And now we have to have people with degrees in eco-psychology.
I say let’s just all go out and plant tomatoes.