Here in Vermont, by this time every year, people are so sick of the insides of their homes that they can’t wait to get outside to spruce up, rake up, and clean up their yards. The winters are so long and dark here that just being able to plant a small garden or watch tulips pop up through the earth is exciting to some of us. This year, as we all can understand, such yearnings are even stronger than ever.
I probably already reported to you that my three-year-old granddaughter Nahla and I planned to make a small raised garden patch along the sunny side of our house. (Okay, so I did most of the planning, so if it fails it’s my fault.) It is true that we eventually planted it together. (It’s surprising how much longer a project can take when you have help.) I’ve never attempted one of these gardens before and have no idea if I (we) will reap crops worth more than what I paid for wood and bolts and twelve big bags of soil, but that’s sort of beside the point for Nahla and me.
A day recently arrived when we seemed to be past the last frost and snow in our area, (very hopefully.) The two of us ventured out with a small tray of seedlings we had grown on the sunny windowsill for the past month or so. I had loved watching this child’s excitement as those tiny plants sprung through the soil. It thrilled me that every morning she would run to that window to see how much more her ‘babies’ had grown. She often would even kiss them good morning. I’m sure they appreciated that. Now we were going to give those babies a new home, right beside our home.
I soon discovered that I needed a new hose nozzle. Old man winter had evidently snuck into our Northern state before I had put the hoses away in the fall and had cracked my nifty, multiple-setting, super-duper plastic nozzle. I went off to the hardware store, found the hoses, and there it was on a peg hook, just waiting for me. It was an old-fashioned, simple, twist-to-turn-on, solid brass nozzle, exactly like the one my father had when I was a child. It was also the cheapest nozzle on the display, which didn’t hurt.
Some things simply can’t be improved on. That brass hose end is one of those things. It works perfectly and sprays everything from a very fine mist to a full force stream of water. Nahla soon discovered this, firstly soaking my shirt and pants with the hose, then excitedly wanting to share another discovery she had made, with me.
“Look, Papa, LOOK”, she yelled, jumping up and down as she did. “A rainbow!” I went to her and shared the sight of her beautiful little rainbow in the glistening mist made by the fine spray of my new brass hose nozzle. It was actually quite beautiful.
In times of trial, and this year seems full of trials, it’s easy to forget to appreciate what we have. Less is often more if seen in the right light. Small simple things are often more enjoyable than big fancy ones if the time is taken to experience them. My granddaughter’s amazement at the tiny rainbow she had made was a very happy addition to my list of simple but important things in life.
Many of my days lately have begun with walks, and swinging, and raking, and pampering little plants on the side lawn, all in the company of a beautiful, wide-eyed, excited child. When our morning ritual is finished, Nahla runs over to the hose, points the nozzle to the sky, and begins making rainbows in the sun.