As Mayor of Chetwynd, I get to do many things that make the job worthwhile, challenging, fascinating, and enjoyable. Yesterday and today I, with two other judges, have been wandering through private gardens gasping over the knowledge and skill of the gardeners and marveling at the beauty of their flower arrangements and vegetable production.
Vegetable growing in the valley is a passion with some people as they battle with and collaborate with the elements to augment their stores of food. In this age when we can get almost anything eatable at the local grocery store, most people let someone else do the growing somewhere else. Fact is, many in this age of plenty that is upon us really couldn’t tell a radish from a carrot top. Sadly, too many of us never have the privilege of seeing a vegetable that has not been deep fried or pickled and sliced and packed between a couple slabs of highly processed carbohydrates seasoned with fat on salt or maybe even with fat on fat on salt on fat on sugar. You know what I am thinking of.
Yesterday I and my colleagues visited a couple of vegetable gardens. To our great delight and astonishment we were treated to outstanding displays of the power of the good earth, collaborating with the dedicated hands of the gardeners, to produce onions of wonderful size and contour, peas by the bucketful, beet tops that would delight the most discriminating palate, potatoes, potatoes, potatoes, and a dozen other species of delectable edibles.
And think of it: these gardeners actually welcomed us to wander through their almost-weedless domains.
Today was a repeat of yesterday only more so. Some gardens seemed to wrap us with peace, with every tint of the spectrum and aromas to match. We didn’t want to leave. Leo Sabulsky, that relentless slave driver, followed us like a shadow. “Come on. You’ve got only seven minutes here. You must be finished by five.”
“Sure Leo. But I’m not finished here yet. This is like Eden fresh from the mind of the Creator. I don’t want to leave yet. Do I have to move on?”
“Yes, you have to move on. This is beautiful but it’s not Eden. Time marches on here and there are three more gardens to judge in the next hour?”
This is what Beautiful Gardens does to me. What do they do to you? When I see us taking pride in our own living spaces, when I see us putting effort into beautifying our town I say to myself, “You know, Merlin, you could stay another day. In fact, you could live here ‘til you die.”
Every Beautiful Garden displayed beauty, ingenuity, dedication, and the pride and wonder of the artist-gardener. You might not get the gold in this contest, but just to have entered is cause for the collective thanks of all your neighbours who get to appreciate the results of your hard work without the work.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor