Note: A few weeks ago, Carlos and his Mom approached me and asked if I would help Carlos with his vegetable plot. We have been working together each Sunday for an hour or two. [here]
My goal this Sunday was to help Carlos share his gardening experience; and to remind Carlos of our ongoing loyalty to his vegetable garden; and to prove, together, Proposition XVI in Euclid’s Fourth Book of Elements on our sidewalk.
For us both, concentration and attention are challenging. Carlos and I learn to compensate with our strengths. We started with a list:
(left) Carlos’ Gardening Journal
We checked on his vegetable garden. Radishes are sprouting. Radishes are good to start from seeds where one needs something quickly to demonstrate that plants grow. We strung the pyramid for peas. Carlos watered and weeded (below).
Last week Carlos, his Mom and I discussed helping a neighbor with her garden. Carlos’ neighbor is his age. Her name is V. First we talked with V’s Mom. It was a good idea to check first, because V’s Mom has other plans.
Carlos and I have been discussing a Spring garden for his Grandmother. Our Island’s second historical community garden was installed within our public housing project. Private donors generously provided a half dozen planters for the handicapped. These were not intended to engineer conflict between disabled and able bodied tenants.
Sharing is not as easy as it looks. Last week, able bodied tenants were told that the handicapped planters had no takers. A half dozen tenants in wheelchairs were told there was more demand for handicapped planters than supply. Even those like Carlos’ Grandmother who had reserved a handicapped planter were denied. Last week, I saw an able bodied gardener who does not live here, planting a handicapped planter.
Some dramas are not worth the speculation. It is enough to be grateful for those who raise the threshold for our inclusion. They make us strong. Excluding us helps us improve ourselves. In the Healing Garden, excluding our neighbors is sufficient encouragement for us to help them feel included. A survey of the deep shows this is a valuable lesson for sharing the gardening experience.
Carlos prepared a site plan for new handicapped planters (above), since there are not enough for everybody who would like a garden. The plot is an irregular figure and required practice to draw. Below, new planter installed. Happy gardeners.
Above. Carlos’s neighbor Alison who is mobility challenged and enjoys gardening and photography. She has a sunny spot with room for two planters. One is for her. One is for Carlos to grow flowers for his Grandmother.
Today, Carlos helped deliver and install planters for two disabled tenants in A Block. Then, we delivered the first planter to Carlos’ neighbors in C Block. It was a busy day sharing the gardening experience. Carlos will be returning to prepare another site plan and help install plants.
Above. Dave and his new service dog Beaulieu. Next to Carlos is Dave’s next door neighbor Candy, and her daughter. Dave and Candy have been trying to grow a garden in front of their apartments for years. Here Carlos is standing by one of their new planters.
Expansion is likely to meet obstruction. The sun rises and at midday it begins to set. A Healing Garden gardener is resourceful in sharing the abundance of the earth. A garden is a fundamental symbol of home, and wealth and a sense of permanence in the community.
It is not easy sharing this experience. Some problems are problems because of the apparent magnitude of their difficulty. A Healing Garden gardener uses every opportunity to learn. This refines his mind. Difficulties transform themselves from obstructions into opportunities for acquiring meaning.
(Above, Carlos proof of Prop. XVI, Book IV Euclid’s Elements, of which he is very proud) Carlos and I finished a long gardening afternoon proving Euclid’s Proposition XVI from Book IV. I used a string, piece of chalk and my cane for a straight edge. Carlos has new colored pencils. I loaned him a draftsman’s compass and straight edge. I was happily surprised because he followed the logic of the proof, but has difficulty transposing shapes when the invisible becomes visible. I understand this completely.
I did not mention to Carlos that the small line segment on the circumference between the base of the triangle and the base of the pentagon is what concerned Frederick Gauss. Carlos can discover this on his own. Our planters are circular stock tanks. I told him we wanted an equilateral triangular design fitting inside the circle. And a five sided design fitting inside the circle. Both with a common apex. We understood each other completely.
With only a compass and straight edge, in his gardening journal Carlos constructed an equilateral triangle and a pentagon within a circle and with comprehension. It’s all in the small.