October 31 - November 2 , 2006
The Mums and Me
With the arrival of fall a little bit ago, I acquired a new job at the farm. Several days a week, one of my responsibilities now includes watering the mums beside Route 7. It is a simple task; just hydrate each plant with the hose on full power approximately four seconds or until the pot overflows. Although this is an easy chore, it must be done before the day becomes excessively hot to provide the roots a chance to absorb as much moisture and nutrients as possible.
As I water the mums among the daybreak's long shadows, I admire their ever-increasing transition to an explosion or color. Gradually the foliage is shifting from buds of green, to petal-full bursts of wine-red, yellow, rust, and shades of purple. In a similar fashion, people on their slow morning commute contemplate my watering the flowers. As they peer out their car's windows and windshields, they ponder my activities with the same scrutiny I afford the mums. I imagine some of these passersby regard me with an air of contempt. Perhaps they scoff at the simplicity of my work as they journey into the city for their white-collar destination. However, it is also possible that some of these people lust after my job. Perhaps they resent being confined to an office lacking the fresh air and sunshine I enjoy on a daily basis.
During these early morning hours, the traffic is a paradox. The road is packed with sedans and SUVs, but the noise is minimal. The vehicles cannot flow freely through the asphalt arteries; therefore the ever-present automotive din is dampened. In a pulsing rhythm, the quiet is further accentuated by the stoplight at Beulah Road. Each time the signal brings the long line of cars to a halt in front of me, the engines hush, and I am completely aware of the unfamiliar silence that causes me to raise my head. Sometimes my eyes meet those of a stranger looking in on my world from behind a slice of glass. They confront me for a moment with a thoughtful stare until the light turns green. Then once again, the cars gush forward with an increase in volume, and I am left with only the mums.