When my grandparents moved from the farm to a tiny home in a tiny Iowa
community, my grandmother no longer had the room or the energy to garden, can,
and preserve as she had for decades. Nonetheless, every time we visited, the
table was replete with golden canned peaches, homemade apple sauce, and, in summer, fresh tomatoes, okra, green beans, and corn that had made their way in boxes onto the back stoop.

 At the end of an abundant meal, my grandfather would push his chair back and say, “Thank you, mother. That was a fine meal. We can’t cultivate our garden anymore, but we can cultivate our friends.”

As a kid, I usually lived around water: the Black Hawk River; the five
lakes of Madison, Wisconsin; Green Lake in Minnesota; and the Illinois River. We had a boat, and I loved it. Last Monday night, I was gifted with a boating outing on the Willamette River canal. What a night. It rained, and then it didn’t. The sky was dark, and then it was clear. The great blue herons dined along the shore and then flocked overhead to roost for the night. I needed to be by the water, and I needed some help from my friends because they had the boat, and I didn’t.

 I view editing the same way. When I work on someone else’s writing, I
feel I have the chance to make something already worthy, better. I provide a little help as a friend. Isn’t that what we do for one another?

9/23/2013 07:07:26 am

Grandmothers and gardens. Herons and water. Ann and words. I am grateful for all of these things that support creativity and, in the case of Ann, my own writing.


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