James & The Giant Poppies | Project
Updated: Jul 11, 2019
There's something about a big field of flowers that just draws you to it. Especially when the gardener in that said field of flowers is a cute little old man who dons suspenders.
Lindsay and I timidly approached the garden and took turns saying "hello!" "sir?" "hi!". It wasn't until we got into his field of vision that the man's face lit up and his wrinkles deepened as his face filled with biggest smile.
"I don't have my ears on!", he shouted. The gardener, James, has been on his plot of land since 1941 and is so proud of his little slice of heaven. He is a recently widowed, 91-year-old man who is hard of hearing, has a bad back and bad knees, but has a mind that is as sharp as a whip. His physical limitations didn't stop him at all from giving us a tour of his property. He led us through his field of tall, bright red poppies (the same ones that enticed us to approach) then back towards the bluebonnets and mixture of wild flowers.
He told us he gardens every day because "he just can't quit". He's been living in the city before it was a hot spot for tourists, before his house was part of a subdivision, and before the city was trying to take his land.
"What you got there?!" James shouted, pointing at our cameras. He immediately encouraged us to take photos, and was a very willing to be the subject. He got right down and posed with a poppy, unprompted. My heart melted when he faced the flower, taking in the spring time smell.
He gave us a lesson on poppy seeds and how they grow, showed us his lilies (which is his pride and joy), and picked a couple flowers for us to take home. All too soon he retired into his home to leave us to our own devices.
We ran through the field; fingertips grazing the tops of the petals. We laid down to bathe in color; the stems soaring high overhead. We watched the bees during their busy workday; apathetic of our intrusion. We took in the reds, blues, purples, yellows, greens and whites of the evening before the setting sun urged us home.
I'm so thankful to James for inviting us into his little slice of heaven, and for this life where I am able to spend a unexpected evening untethered from obligation.
You can check out Lindsay's photos here.
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Thanks for keeping up with my monthly photo projects! Click through below to view previous months:
December: Mistletoe Project
January: Spin Me Right Round
February: Nothing to Fear
March: Superhero Project