Saturday, June 6, 2009

WAG, part 15

“WAG #15: Best Tool For The Job” Thanks to Paige for the topic idea! Paige’s idea was to have the topic this week be about writing tools such as a keyboard or favourite pen, but I’d like to expand this to be any type of tool, whether it’s a gardening tool or a jackhammer or a toenail clipper. Describe a favourite tool in concrete terms, but also show how you (or whomever it belongs to) feel about using it, and how it leaves an individual or particular mark on the end product.


An old woman, Sally has her favorite container of gardening tools. She puts on her big floppy hat to shield the sun from her face and neck. Then tugs on her gardening gloves-thick strong canvas with a red speckled flower pattern on white. Well, they used to be white but are now stained with the green and black of plant juice and mud. She picks up the wooden container and goes out to her flower bed, kneels on her knee pads and looks over her container for the right tool for the job. Rather like an experienced golfer will look over his bag of clubs, perhaps pulling one out, then changing his mind and putting it back. The scent of lilacs on the cool breeze washes over her face as she studies her tool box. Finally she selects the right tool. A shiny hand spade with a dark brown wooden handle. She takes good care of her gardening tools. Unlike her gloves, they are carefully cleaned and shined after each use. So, the tip of the spade is sharp enough to cut through hardened dirt and errant roots.

The first slice into the dirt fills her with satisfaction as her arm absorbs the shock of it. She tastes dirt in the air. The sun warms her through her cotton blouse. Her shoulder and back muscles bunch and elongate as she digs out weed roots and mixes in compost. Then, again, the blade cuts smoothly through the ground as she creates holes a few inches deeper than the plant pots, a few inches wider.

She doesn't plant her flowers in rows. That seems archaic and unimaginative. No, she groups them in groupings of three and five, ensuring the smaller plants are in front while the larger plants take up the rear. Like good little soldiers.

She sits back on her heels and surveys the work. The flower bed is picture perfect. Her gloves covered in dirt lost any pattern they once had. The small shovel is caked in dirt and compost. It is a good tool. She gets up and knows she will wash it off, sharpen the edge and oil it out of respect for the help it has given her. The job it will do the next time she gardens. Job complete she walks back to her tool shed, tired but content. No one will ever suspect her late husband rests under her flowers, happy to finally be of use.

To read the other wonderful WAG blogs or to join in on our writing adventures, click on Nixy Valentine's blog. Cheers!

7 comments:

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Very jealous of your new book. (Not really, good luck with it.)
Does WAG have the same meaning as in the UK? (Footballers wives are cakked WAGS.)

Jessica said...

Cool post. I don't remember tasting dirt in the air, but I've smelled it. That was a great line!

Nancy J. Parra said...

Thanks Jessica!

Grumpy Old Ken, LOL, WAG stands for Writer's Adventure Group. We have weekly blog assignments. It's a way to pull you out of your office and into the world.

Frances said...

I loved the description of this dedicated gardener, and was wondering if she'd like to come and do mine - until I read the last line! Loved that twist; it was totally unexpected!

dan powell said...

Lovely descriptive piece. Love the way you flip the tone in the last line.

J. M. Strother said...

Loved the end. Hopefully I'm a bit more use around here than compost, but I'm not sure I want to ask my wife. :o

Funny piece. Left me smiling.
~jon

Mel said...

I really enjoyed your evocative piece, thank you!