Well, there is the sod, soggy yet steady underfoot, turned by farmers’ shovels and stacked neatly in lopsided piles. There is the sleek smoothness of silage under wraps–long sheets of hard plastic housing fermenting grasses for the cows. There is cow manure, everywhere, dotting the roads and paths and fields, fresh and wet or old and dried and crusty. There is the wet mud squelching underfoot as cows trudge home with tails swinging after a day of grazing in the fields. The fields that go ungrazed are dotted with wildflowers–purple and yellow and white blooming along with wild thistles, nettles, and ferns.
There are wild swaying long grasses with their haystacks in the fall, calling out to be climbed. “I’m the queen of the castle!” I shout when I make it to the top first, itchy and happy as I look out and around over the patchwork of greens rolling and soaring in the hills around our home. There are mounds of newly dug potato fields, ridged with unearthed, rich black soil. There is moss, tufted and silky, nesting on trees and walls and the cement that flattens the earth into ordered paths around our schoolhouse.
There are crumbling ridges on the bricked walls, and if you heave away a flat-top, there are dark hollow spaces inside holding spiders’ webs and hiding spaces. There are nests, tangled and tiny, among the exposed hollows, and there are eggshells, broken and scattered on the ground. There are cuckoo calls and snail shells and bristling brambles too. There are rabbits and hares, darting out from hedges in grey and brown flashes. There is water in rivers and rain, as cool and glittering as the stained glass shapes of church windows.
There are the tight green buds of spring, hard and compressed on the trees. There are rampant pink roses, elegantly exploding around the dilapidated teacher’s house. There are the browns of fallen nuts on the ground, the small dull duns of rounded hazelnuts, the polished chocolate of chestnuts, and the triangled sheen of beech nuts broken out of their hairy homes. There are the greys of the sky and its clouds and the walls that lie stretched or sandwiched in haphazard formations around our world.
There are the reds of knitted hats and mittens our sister made for us, and there is the blue of our eyes, flashing as we chase each other outside our house. There are the bronzes of old dirty rare coins we have dug up from the dirt, and there is the silver of our laughter.
This is God’s garden, but we claim it as our own, and here there are infinite layers and linings to be known.