The sun rose warmly over the old man’s garden, glistening off the dew covered leaves. The pea vine stretched in the warmth, even the crab apple tree was more chipper than usual, allowing the birds to stay just a while longer before shaking it’s branches and sending them skyward.
The creak of the storm door told them the gardener was coming. Each settled in to enjoy a morning pluck and to be rid of those nuisance neighbours growing willy-nilly between the rows. The potatoes were beginning to feel a little exposed and were hoping for a fresh coat of dirt to keep their tubers from the sun and the carrots, feeling rather quite crowded were looking forward to a thinning.
He appeared as he did every morning, stooped, hoe in hand in his black galoshes. A wide brimmed hat, more befitting of a scarecrow than a man, was doing a poor job of blocking out the sun through its tattered straw.
“Good morning my love,” he said to his plants. They all wished they could return the well wishes. “I must take good care of you today.”
He went about his business, declaring his intentions to each of the plants, apologizing to the lettuce as he pulled leaves, thanking the beans for their bounty and taking a moment to congratulate the pumpkin on its ever growing girth. None of the plants minded his care, even the dirt was happy for the chance at a different task and the exposed soil loved the new found warmth. Only the weeds seemed to be offended by his presence but knew it was their own fault for attempting to steal the valuable nutrients.
He hummed as he hoed, songs from a memory of days gone by. He had been to Woodstock, met his wife during the summer of love in San Francisco and they wed, naked, under the priestly presence of a giant red wood tree with only God and a chipmunk to witness their vows then made love in the soft moss of the forest floor.
“Sweet Gloria,” he murmured, “oh how I miss you.”
The last drops of dew fell from shadowed leaves, sympathy tears for the man as he grieved.
Under the shade of a pear tree the gardener took refuge from the hot sun. He was more worn than usual today and had not been able to complete his chores before the sun was high. He closed his eyes just for a moment.
He awoke to a soft touch. “Gloria?” He said. There she stood, her years had been repelled and she looked as she did on the day they met, flowing blonde hair crested with a crown of flowers.
She took his hand and led him away. The plants moved to him, hugging him warmly, each expressing their love and gratitude; then, with the guidance of the woman who had nourished them for so many years, carried the gardener and his love back to earth, from whence they came.
If vegetables had feelings hippies would starve
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