Yesterday, on our Quran party day, we also harvested some carrots and cherry tomatoes from our tiny container garden! It reminds me of why I loved hanging out in my father’s orchard in the early mornings when I was growing up. It was a time when the morning dews are still glistening on the banana tree leaves, ready to roll off the smooth surface and fall with a fat plop onto the ground. The green grass was still deliciously wet with dew, making my flip flopped feet(back home, flip flops are wet market attire, but here it’s the ‘in’ thing, which makes me laugh. Amazing how something that is considered the most low standard footwear in one place is considered fashionable in another part of the world!) wet and cool. I loved it when we were living in Kajang, where I spent a lot of time imagining myself a ninja while running around and weaving through the tapioca trees by the man-made fish pond my father liked to fish from. We had fresh fried fish every now and then. There was also a man-dug well, half of which my father enclosed and turned into an ‘outhouse’. The other half, he left open so we could use the water for our kitchen needs. He also slaughtered our own chickens and I remember the headless chickens running around for a bit before completely dying. My grandmother would then dip them in boiling water and pluck the feathers. All tasks such as cleaning fish guts, cleaning slaughtered chickens, cleaning squids and prawns are done in our outdoor kitchen. The indoor kitchen is for cleaner stuff. There was a time where I also kept a baby cobra in a jar for a while before my father turned it loose. That was also when I was introduced to keeping a butterfly jar where I would pick the monarch caterpillars from our lime trees and put them in empty jam jars and feed them till they pupa-ed and turned into beautiful black and orange monarchs!
I think that is the most meaningful part of my childhood. The rest of them I spent in the concrete city of Kuala Lumpur where I would spend my time reading Enid Blyton books and imagining our closets to have secret trapdoors that lead to secret tunnels and such. Imagination and books have always been my closest friend back then.
Suffice it to say, I do love being out in nature, not necessarily to be physically active (like my husband and children (some of them) do) but just to sit, smell the flowers, scrutinize the details, and revel in the beauty of it all. I am happy that the older kids had that in their childhood when we were in Columbus, but I feel somewhat bad for Z because here in the desert, he can’t really just go out and play. We have a xeriscape yard too, so that doesn’t help. But with this little garden, at least he has a smidgeon of an experience hopefully. I love watching his delight at pulling out the carrots!
The book : What Do Roots Do? by Kathleen V. Kudlinski