Grapevines, a Friday Fictioneers reprise

Posted: January 8, 2017 in Uncategorized, Writing
Tags: , , ,

Originally published on July 12, 2012, this story is based on a man we often see on our walks around the small lake only a few blocks from our house, fact presented as fiction in 100 words.

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.

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Comments
  1. “Wrapped in his lack of English”? For all you know, this might be bliss for him.

    • Since there’s no way to hear inflection via written word, I can’t tell how you meant this comment. But I went back to the story several times and I don’t see that I made this line condemnatory. It merely prefaced that he spoke through his garden. He IS wrapped in his lack of English, for better or worse, choice or not, and whether a choice or not, not speaking a language is isolating to some extent.

      janet

      • Sorry, I was only taken aback, because “lack” has a negative ring in my non-English ears. Which might be wrong, of course. Isolation is a more neutral term I suppose. Your story made me wonder about this gardener`s past. If I were to write it (which I shan’t), I’d make him a refugee from an East European country, where he was forced to use foreign languages (or at least one) all his life. He’d be at peace now with only his family speaking in his mother tongue. But that’s a different story. Please accept my apology.

      • No apology necessary. I just wanted to clarify that nothing negative was meant. Having been in countries where I speak only a few words of the language, I know the feeling and although I’m not living in those countries and I’m sure he’s picked up lots of English, it’s still a feeling of isolation. Thanks for clarifying what you meant and for taking time to comment in the first place!

  2. I remember this photo 🙂 I thought it was a comfortable non-speaking communication between the two sides. When I am not in an English speaking place, it always feels so gratifying to understand and be understood through other means of communication. This man’s garden sounds wonderful.

  3. joey says:

    Well done! It’s nice when we form these relationships of appreciation despite the language barrier 🙂

  4. Well done! It’s pleasant when we frame these connections of gratefulness regardless of the dialect hindrance..

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