I’ve been in the garden today and assessed the winter damage. The ground is soaked with water for our land is comprised of clay. The good thing about clay as a basis for grass and shrubs and flowers is that we rarely have to water. But in the spring our soil is loaded with water looking for a way to drain. We moved sticks that had fallen from the wind storms. I simplified my garden area by removing several pots. I am overwhelmed with the prospect of edging, weeding, trimming that confronts me. And yet, I love it. I feel alive in my garden with the spring sun warming me. How fortunate are we when we put our hands in dirt and think about those who came before us.

My roots are mostly from Ireland, Scotland, England, and Scandinavia. I can imagine my great grandparents digging in their gardens. Did they feel what I feel, or was it just sustenance work for them? For me, it is an avocation and often a joy. I have visited one grandfather’s home in Roscommon, Ireland, in the house he was born in Clune Lee. The farm with its thatched cottage is picturesque and when you enter there is the raised hearth where tea is given to all visitors. A visitor feels welcome, always.

I have also visited my husband’s father’s home on the side of a mountain overlooking the sea in Bianco, Reggio Calabria, Italy. His aunt served us rabbit stew and was so hospitable, as were all his relatives. We went from house to house and revelled in the warmth of Italy.

It is important to think about our roots; especially so important for we, Americans.Look to the culture within which you were raised. Don’t think of it as better than other cultures, just think about the deep morality the generations before you trickled down to you. For me, the standard was set high as it was for my husband, Joe. The standards were set in very different ways, but set high demanding that we try to be the best we could be. Enjoy your heritage.

K. B. Pellegrino

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