My friend from China

Friday, March 03, 2006

These are the carrots I pulled from the garden today -- the final bunch from last fall's crop. I am going to use them in a chicken broth I am making.

On my walk through the garden today, I was not at all surprised to find Wenhua. She is a woman from rural China who joined the community garden last year. She is often there in the morning or evening, rain or shine.

When she first came to the garden, she did not know that each plot was assigned to a specific person. She would go in and start working on any plot that needed tending. Since there was a long waiting list for plot assignments, one of the gardeners offered to share a space with her. And by the end of the summer, she was assigned a plot of her own.

Wenhua hardly spoke any English when she joined us. She could say "flower", "cucumber," and "How are you?" We used a lot of hand motions, nods, and smiles.

When I saw her today, I found out she could say "a,b,c,d" and "1,2,3,4..." She also knows "tomato" and "beans" now, but for the most part, we still can't communicate easily.

She pointed over to where my plot is and said "garden?" I said, "Yes, I will have my garden there again this year." She then embraced me in a giant and enthusiastic hug. It was as if we were saying to each other, "It's great to see you again! Welcome to the new gardening year."

That moment made my day.

Here we are, two women from opposite sides of the planet, speaking two very different languages, and hardly able to communicate in words. But we are drawn together by this place and our mutual enjoyment of planting this little piece of Earth.


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