Lakeside for our evening walk, we see him in the garden, engendering life, whatever the weather.  His garden is verdant: deep green leaves, fruits and vegetables of varying hues, brilliant flowers.  A radio sometimes  shatters the silence (whether he’s nearby or not—perhaps to keep away birds.)  We attempt a  compliment, but he speaks no English.  “Beautiful garden”, accompanied by an expressive gesture including the whole.  He smiles; we smile.  He sounds eastern European, lives with his daughter and her husband, wrapped in his lack of English, speaking through his garden and the trellised grapevines that shelter and surround it.


I’m sorry I haven’t figured out how to get the cute link doohickey on my blog, but if you want to read other stories based on this prompt, please go to Madison Woods’ site and enjoy:

Thanks for reading and stopping by.  Feel free to leave comments and criticism and if you do, thanks for taking the time to help my writing improve. For those of you who follow my blog, I appreciate you greatly and thanks for putting up with two blogs today. I hope they were worth your reading time. 🙂

  1. billgncs says:

    absolutely beautiful — I saw him sitting in the garden the other day with a very very old woman, in the midst of his lovely garden, and couldn’t help think of when they both were young….

  2. rochellewisoff says:

    You painted a beautiful picture, Janet. You also “spoke through his garden.”

  3. Adam Ickes says:

    To get the linky thing, follow these steps: (hopefully I’ve made them clear enough to follow)
    1. click the “get the inLinks code” link under Madison’s list on her page to go to the page to get the various inLinks codes.
    2. Copy the text from the 3RD text box. Ignore all of the others, they don’t apply to blogs.
    3. When creating a new post for your blog, the box you type text into should have two tabs at the top, “Visual” and “Text”. I’ve also seen “Text” labeled as “HTML”, I think they can’t decide what they want to call it.
    4. Click on the “Text” tab. (or “HTML” if its called that on that day.) It will look very similar, maybe identical if you haven’t done any bold or italic text.
    5. Find the spot you want to put the link image and paste the code copied from the other page.
    6. Switch back to the “Visual” tab and you should see the image there.

  4. Verdant is a lovely word. Lovely story. Communicating is only a problem if you’re not willing to try. “He smiles; we smile”…nice people.

    Loved it. You’ve made me smile too.

  5. Jan Brown says:

    Lovely story of neighbors communicating through nature!

    • Thanks, Jan. I’m looking forward to getting to yours and the rest of the ones I haven’t read yet as I’ve been out all day. So many things to do, so little time. 🙂

  6. raina says:

    This was a very pretty story, wrapped in his lack of english speaking through his garden 🙂 Nice..

  7. boomiebol says:

    This is a very lovely story :). Very well done. Thanks so much for stopping by mine

  8. Linda says:

    You can say so much with so few words. Gestures, observation, reverence for something shared and you captured them all beautifully 🙂

  9. Sandra says:

    A nice reminder that we each speak in our own way. You created a lovely picture here. Nice one.

  10. Kaitlin says:

    Oh I love it! Living in a foreign country, I completely understand this concept and you captured it well. Great job!

    • I haven’t lived elsewhere, although I’ve traveled and stay for a time in a number of different places. It’s definitely a different and humbling experience when trying to communicate with very few words (and those probably butchered for the most part.

  11. writelindy says:

    I also spend a lot of my time in a foreign country and I loved this. It reminds me of my own efforts at communication. Even on the page we can misunderstand. Well done on a great piece of writing.

  12. jenniferreck says:

    I enjoyed this very much. I want to learn more about this gentleman.

  13. Beautifully done! Having lived overseas in Italy for four years, I can so understand this…I, myself, have done the grunt and point and smile thing many times. Loved the writing! here’s mine:

  14. Ahhh…the mutually shared language of nature. When we lived in Japan, our neighbor called us over to show us her moonflower (produces only one flower, once a year, late at night). Mostly we smiled and gestured at the flower, but an entire conversation took place.

    ~Susan (

    PS – I added a tag to my stories today if you really are curious – there are only three flashes total and one narrative…which you really wouldn’t glean much from

  15. A smile is part of universal language that (usually!) needs no translation – I like how you wove that into this piece. I also really liked the concept of him ‘speaking’ through his garden – lovely.

    Thanks for your comment on ours, Janet 🙂

  16. erinleary says:

    I think people who like gardening can communicate without words. It is a shared joy.

    Mine is here:

  17. Kris Kennedy says:

    I appreciated the story, the concept, the imagery, and the challenge in communication solved through the garden. Well written.

  18. Vb holmes says:

    Appreciation of beauty is universal–wonderful story.

  19. dmmacilroy says:

    A beautiful evocation of life and our human need to nurture and praise; a common language after all.



  20. glossarch says:

    I like the human connection you protray that transcends language. You captured a very human moment.

    As for your comments on my story: my mom actually has a pit bull mix and she’s a sweetheart! But my story was inspired by picking up my cat Nabi at the Albuquerque City Shelter when he was a kitten. The pit bulls were not across the aisle but they were nearby, and they barked constantly. It was the usual situation where “tough guys” probably got the pit bulls and found they couldn’t handle them. It is a very big pity to see row after row in the city shelter.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. Pit bulls are so maligned as most of them, without human interference, are sweethearts and lovers. But as you say, people use them as an extension of their inner demons and try to make them something else. They used to be known as nanny dogs because they loved and watched over children. Now they’re often seen as accoutrements to display macho attitudes, much to the detriment of the dogs! And let’s face it, lots of people with any kind of dog, don’t learn how to properly train them, again to the detriment of the dog as well as all the people around the dog.

      The rescue from which we fostered our dogs is a wonderful place, doing great work with pits, as are many places throughout the country. The shelters are heart-breakers, even though they’re trying so hard to do good work.

  21. flyoverhere says:

    The language of nature accompanied by a smile is universal.

  22. I love the relationship you’ve created, both between the narrator and the vineyard owner, as well as the obvious bond that the vineyard owner feels with the vines. Excellent job!

  23. JKBradley says:

    I really enjoyed how you used the lack of a common language to explore other ways of communicating, in this instance through his gardening. That was nice.

  24. Nifti says:

    HI there Janet!

    your comment on mine jumped into my spam! Luckily I found it.Lovely story story! So enjoyed reading 🙂

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