The New Gardener and the Old Farmer
The new gardener had forty acres of land he dedicated to trees of all kinds. He loved trees and planted at least one every month. He worked hard to plant as many trees as he could to fill up all his land. It was his whole world.
With each tree the new gardener planted, he gave it all the attention and love it needed, until it was stable and standing straight, then he would leave it alone so he could focus on the next new tree. He could hardly wait till he had a tree in every available space. This was his life, his passion. The day finally came when he had planted all the trees his land could hold. Then he felt his work was done and he could relax upon the hill where his house was and gaze at the beauty of the trees he planted.
The new gardener sat on his front porch, prepared to admire all his trees. As he sat there and gazed around, he began to notice something was wrong. The newest trees he had set in place looked fine, but the first trees he planted weeks and months ago were not looking good at all. Some of the older trees were dying, some were already dead. He stood up and cried to his wife, “This cannot be! I loved those trees and gave them a place in my life. Now, look! This is how they repay me? They just start fading then dying? What am I to do with all those empty spaces in my life?”
The wife looked at the new gardener and suggested he drive down the road to consult with their neighbor who also had forty acres of land, but far less trees. “And they are the most beautiful trees I have ever seen. Maybe he can help by letting you know what he has done to have such lovely trees.”
The next morning the new gardener drove down the hill to his neighbor’s farm, grumbling all the way. The farmer and new gardener were happy to see each other. They sat on the back porch admiring the trees that were so healthy and growing so tall.
The gardener asked the farmer, “What is the magical trick you have to grow such beautiful trees? I planted a lot more trees than what you have and they are all dying.”
“I am sorry to hear that,” said the farmer. “But, there is no trick to it at all, and the magic is to always be caring and nurture each tree with what it needs to grow happily and feel loved. You see, trees are our friends. If we just gather them together with too little space to grow, then ignore them, that friendship will die. Tis better to have a few special trees and give them as much caring and love as you can, than to have so many you have no time for them. Trees are like human friends. Kindness, love and caring is what everything the world over needs. It starts with the self, then is given to those we can reach through caring, from there it spreads to others, and before you know it, beauty is all around us. Love begets love.”
The new gardener thought deeply about what the farmer told him. All the way home he thought about it. That afternoon he began taking extra good care of each surviving tree on his land. A few months later, the gardener had far less trees than what he started with, but they were all beautiful and growing strong, because he now had the time to give each tree special care.
© 2018 Phyllis Doyle Burns