Saturday, August 11, 2018

Method and Madness

Everybody who comes here means business. We come with what we have - trucks, cars and trailers, armed with shovels, gloves, containers and the determination to get the job done quickly, efficiently and leave.

Except for the scraping of our shovels it’s usually quiet. The sound of silence a therapeutic backdrop for the rhythmic scrape-thump-scrape of the tools.  When I pause to catch my breath and look around, I realize my neighbors are a miniature cross-section of the United Nations. Maybe that’s why we don’t talk – we may not speak the same language! And yet, there is a sense of comradery here, you can almost scoop it in the palms of your hands and feel its weight and texture.  

I wonder what it is about this uncomely spot that melts the barriers and unites us.

Part of me thinks we all are a little (or perhaps a LOT) crazy. Who in their right mind leaves the comfort of their air conditioned home and braves Florida summer heat and humidity to get… dirt???

Of course, as Shakespeare warned us, where there is madness, there could be very well be a method hiding behind. 

I look at my sweaty, filthy dirt-mates with fresh eyes and I see not the raggedy crazies but visionaries of the worlds that for right now exist only inside their heads. But give it a month or two, those visions will sprout and grow, change and transform, from dirt and seed, into a stalk of tomato, a cucumber vine, a daisy and a marigold.

It was on one such day that I met first Cris and soon after Joe and his friend Sam.