The Weekly Gardener Volume 4: January - July 2013 by Francis Rosenfeld - Read Online
The Weekly Gardener Volume 4
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Collected articles from - January through July 2013. For current articles visit The Weekly Gardener blog

Published: Francis Rosenfeld on
ISBN: 9781301256365
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    The Weekly Gardener Volume 4 - Francis Rosenfeld

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    Under the sun

    We walked briskly on the wide path winding around bayous and mangrove thickets, through mazes filled with a wildlife that minded its daily activities as if we weren't there: alligators and herons, pink flamingoes, water snakes, frogs and tiny lizards. We were allowed to glimpse into a world normally inaccessible to humans, a swampy cluttered universe fit for smaller creatures with scales or wings.

    Swift lizards slunk across white rocks enjoying the warmth of a little sheltered haven that must feel like an entire universe for beings so small. The late morning sun heated up the limestone making the setting quite cozy for this little fellow. It was so quiet, even with the abundance of wild life around us, not a screech, not a swoosh in the water, not a shuffle of leaves.

    We walked quietly too as if through a painting and stopped after one mile, unfit humans that we were, due to the unavailability of water and inadequate foot wear. After a few complaints of are we there yet? and how long is this going to take? we gave up and headed back.

    Handwritten messages scribbled in the sand accompanied us on the path and pointed to interesting sights, an alligator or a snake, courtesy of travelers ahead of us who wanted to share their visual treasures.

    A sign at the beginning of the path advised take only pictures, leave only footprints and that is exactly what we did.

    Without words

    The sun set quickly as it does in the South, trailed by a sophisticated tapestry of colors. Shadows of birds fluttered over the ever moving water dotting the shimmery surface with somber violet hues. The wild beach undergoes continuous transformation at sunset, when the high tide creates new currents and refreshes salt water ponds, shapes sand dunes and laps against the sculptural driftwood decorating the shores.

    People and dogs wander slowly, checking on sandcastles or colorful shells, with their footsteps muffled by the soft powdery sand. It is warm at sunset, and quiet, a peace without words heralding good tidings for the young year.

    I step barefoot through the fast moving water that the tide rushed into the salt ponds, watching tall legged birds prepare for the night and moving with us rather than away, I'm guessing because they accepted people as a weird but tolerable component of their environment.

    The ocean shifts around the mementoes of that day's activities, a well fortified sand castle, a sculpture or a moat, playing with the long shadows the setting sun left in its wake.

    The colors of the sky and water change, turning the landscape into an extraordinary but not of this earth surrounding where everything is tinted rose, orange and violet. We stepped out of ourselves for a bit, watching the water rhythmically sweep across the wet sand with a slow deep sound like the beating of a heart.

    Beach social

    They don't normally allow people to get close, but it was a splendid late afternoon with warm air that enveloped everything like a blanket and the social birds mellowed out to the peacefulness of their surroundings.

    Week 2 - January 14, 2013



    Say hi to Francis, and guess where is Francis allowed to sleep?

    That would be the fluffy and pure white duvet in the master bedroom of Hemingway's house, with beautiful tropical garden vistas in the background. Francis figured out that sleeping on the bed in the space enclosed by the red rope protects him from any and all unwanted interactions with the public. Not a very sociable cat, as the tour guide said, what you see is what you get.

    Little Francis is part of the tour now, he only leaves his favorite and privileged spot to eat and, well..., then comes right back to continue his nap under the scrutiny of tens of visitors and camera flashes, with his back turned to the ruckus and accepting it as an unavoidable nuisance.

    I think he got his name from the character Francis Macomber because of his laid back personality, but as far as activities go he has nothing to prove the world. His life is perfect.

    I took quite a few pictures of him before I continued on the tour, walking obediently behind the red rope, past the large sign that said Please don't sit on furniture and the sprawling black cat in the photo below.

    Garden Ghosts

    This place has been a cat haven for a long time, a place where generation after generation of kitty-cats lived happy unhurried lives away from danger and need and then passed on and found their final resting place in the little cemetery at the corner of the property.

    There are many names and dates on those stones, and because cats only live around fifteen years that corner of the garden looks like an accelerated version of history, feline style.

    The names of former residents were usually inspired by Hemingway's characters, friends or acquaintances, but since so many cats have come and gone over the years the list expanded to famous actors, musicians and other public figures. Not a Fluffy or a Mr. Whiskers among them, but there is a Mr. Bette Davis, a Marilyn Monroe and a Frank Sinatra.

    The garden is full of ghosts and memories of times long gone, reflecting people and events from seventy years ago. Shadows