We move to a barren plot of earth where the grass is brown and sun-scorched. Ancient trees with white and green lichens growing on the bark and dead limbs poised to break free and crash to the ground line the borders. There are no flowers or bushes aside from a gathering of white and yellow wildflowers at the edge of the tree line. Tough weeds that like shallow soil and dry conditions are the only thing that grow in abundance. A thick layer of limestone is just under the soil, daring us to bring life to the impossible area.
The earth says no and my shovel agrees at the initial dig when I hit rock here, there and everywhere. Yet, we do not listen. Instead, we get a pick-axe and bring in compost and top soil, plants and grasses. Busting through the rock and clay as beads of sweat drip from our foreheads and run down our necks, we refuse to accept the current state of our land.
Meanwhile, the baby creeps out from under his umbrella, off of his blanket and onto the crunchy grass after an orange butterfly.
“Ahem,” the baby’s father clears his throat, stopping the baby in mid-crawl with the invisible power of a hypnotist.
Orange wings flutter off towards the trees and the temporary spell is broken. The baby resumes his escape attempt and is scooped up by his ever-observant daddy and only to be returned to the blanket. His face is covered in dirt, turned to mud from the fountain of drool that drips from his mouth. He smiles and laughs with his hands up in the air, conducting a silent orchestra with his chubby fingers.
He is a beautiful mess.
It is all for this muddy buddy that we accept the dare to bring life where there has only been rock and weeds. It is for him that we see beyond the harsh present to create a lush future. It is for him that we sweat and toil.
We beautify the land for him and for those who follow, it is no longer about us.