We go to a Community Gardens Group around the corner from our house. It was, I think, Helena’s idea. She had an interest in gardening a way back, she built her own garden and was doing secret (well unobserved) gardening and I saw a sign at the community gardens so we gave it a go. A social situation neither of us relish but tempered by a task, a common goal. I no longer remember the first time when all the people there with their distinct personalities were strangers, how I struggled learning their names. I remember making a mistake early on that seemed large in my mind at the time that now seems nothing. Helena liked it from the word go, she was the driving force reminding us to go… However she seems to do very little actual gardening. I’m sure she is learning about gardening by watching what everyone else does, as well as seeing how we all interact. Initially I think she liked it because everyone had so much time for her, she would tell them things about her life and they would listen (I’d overhear “my mum says…”). That and the pastries for morning tea. There is so much benefit in that kind of grandparent like relationship, all benevolence with no rights to be annoyed. Helena use to not want me to sit talking for a long time and now she wants me to, I guess she likes to listen to us talk about politics, gardening, the community and life.
Recently we were given some concrete bricks which we are using to place around the beds. I have been soooo enjoying this as it’s physical, transformational and is, after nearly a year (we started at broad bean harvesting time and this years broad beans are starting to have pods), finally making me part of the group. I like the way we constructively talk to each other about making decisions on where each bed goes. Helena didn’t want to help but finally started delivering bricks to us and got to see the difference it made to us with speed, she was part of it, truly working.
I wanted her to feel at home, socialised to groups of people that aren’t her age (I’m possibly the only one without a gold card) to care about, value and understand what constitutes people, to never underestimate others knowledge (I used to work in a fabric shop with an 78 year old who knew so much about sewing yet was snubbed by young customers), to be comfortable with different people and that she has something to offer, that she is part of something. Of course she is subject to the converse, the “I’ve always done it this way”, “it is my thing so we do it my way”, “you are just a child” ideas but most adults are open to learning new ideas, if they are good ones, as they are to sharing their own… or maybe that’s just gardeners!
We got home from gardening this week and Helena started this project where she is making every member of the gardening group an embroidered book mark. So I guess it is the people that are important.
He aha te mea nui o te ao, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata.
Someone new has joined in the last few weeks and so the pattern continues.
Later: they liked them, she liked that they liked them…