I have been a bit out of sorts lately. No specific reason. I’m just at loose ends a bit. Post COVID - but not. Life returning to normal - but not.

Lately I’ve been waking up super early. Like, in the wee, wee hours before even sunrise.

And I’ve been getting up.

When I can, I get up, grab my camera, leave the house, and drive somewhere.

Some mornings, I just sit with windows rolled down and radio off listening to the world awakening to the day.

It is peaceful. Calming. An un-lonely alone-ness.

Some days, I park alongside the community garden where my son and I rented a plot for several years.

It sits alongside a maintained garden overlooking sweeping fields that give way to a low river basin.

It is a pretty place. I usually have it all to myself at that hour.

Yesterday, I got there just before sunrise and spent the next hour lost in the beauty of the light changing minute to minute.

Behind me, I heard the familiar clang of the gate to the community garden swinging shut behind someone.

There was another car in the parking lot.

Through the fence, I saw the person. They were dressed in the usual haberdash of seasoned gardeners. Blue jeans faded up to the sky, a comfortable cotton shirt unbuttoned over a t-shirt, a foam kneeling pad tucked under their arm.

And then I returned to my coffee and camera and sunrise.

There was time for a few last pictures, so I walked off into the cool of the high grass to take them.

As I walked back to the car, I saw the gardener silhouetted by a sun now fully up at 6:15 am.

They weren’t tending to a personal rental plot.

They were hunched over on their knees, hands in the soil, tending to a bed in the lower section.

The Giving Garden.

Those plots are worked by volunteers.

They are planted and tended and harvested by people giving their time.

And what they produce is given away to food insecure families.

I was struck by the moment and walked over to the fence to ask the gardener if they’d mind if I took a few pictures from afar.

The pictures are technically so flawed. They’re washed out and overexposed. They lack the color of sunrise.

And yet they are perfect in their own way.
Finally, I walked inside the fence, made my way to the gardener, and asked if she’d mind terribly if I just took a couple as she went about her planting.

She said sure but seemed a bit hesitant. So, I told her I’d keep the sun behind her. It’s be a silhouette not a portrait.
She said sure.

And I kept to my word.

Took this and then left her to her seedlings.

Walked back to my car and finished my coffee as I looked at the picture I had just taken.

I saw technical flaws first. I cannot help it. I always do.

I should have moved so the sun was behind her and not over her shoulder. Surely, that would have been better.

But I had taken it quickly to be respectful and quickly out of her way.

And now, every time I see that picture, I will see that imperfection and remember that reason.

The gardener was there for the honest kindness of their labor not for a photo op.

Those quick images I took will stick with me. They hold the simplest of metaphors about human kindness.

Kindness is being alone on your knees at 6:27 a.m. planting vegetables so that others might eat.

Kindness is getting your hands dirty.

Kindness is work over words.

Kindness is a long row of seedlings planted in dark, rich earth while it is still cool and damp from overnight.

And come summer, kindness will be harvesting those cucumbers, those tomatoes, those peppers… and then giving them away.

Kindness is a Giving Garden.


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More from @TheRealHoarse

10 Jun
I just want to add one note and one addendum to this thread.

The note: I am glad it struck a chord with some; it struck one for me too.

Selfishness screams. Kindness whispers.

We must look close and listen hard to find the kindness or all we see and hear is selfishness.

The addendum:

That little Giving Garden - those little rows of raised beds tended by strangers - produces 70,000 pounds of fresh produce a year.

Since its founding, it has provided fresh, organic produce to over 200,000 families.

Fresh produce is expensive.

Food-insecure families cannot afford the makings for a salad. They can’t afford a trip to the farmer’s market. They can’t afford local summer corn or fresh fruit.

When a food budget tightens to the point of choking, fresh produce is one of the cuts.
Read 6 tweets
24 May
My son played his last regular season game of soccer today; and I’ve had a pint or two of Guinness.

So it’s about to get very Hallmark movie in here very fast. You have been forewarned. If you strap in for the ride, ya gets what ya gets.

Anyway, let’s proceed.

It wasn’t my son’s last game with this team. They have a tournament left in June.

Today was just the last match of the regular season.

Surely that couldn’t be enough to send a grown-ass man into a Guinness-fueled nostalgia thick as marmalade.

And yet here we are.

I had that June tourney in my back pocket. That was my buffer. I wouldn’t need to get all emotional today, you see, because it wasn’t really my son’s last game of the year.

I fully believed that. I was good.

This wasn’t going to be the Day of Unbearable Sentimentality.

Read 20 tweets
21 May
Sitting at a bar (for only the 2nd time in a year) eating a quick lunch.

Meathead 1 comes in by himself. Meathead 2 eventually arrives.

They have now been talking about transgender kids in their circle of friends for 15 minutes.

And it has been... adorable.

As soon as I heard ‘transgender’, I braced for some asinine slew of backwards, bigoted, dumbfuckery.

Instead, Meathead #2 led Meathead #1 through a catch up about a mutual friend’s child who is transgender and another friend’s child who is gender fluid.

Meathead #2 knows what he’s talking about. These aren’t the awkward fumblings of someone who doesn’t have the language for a topic.

He is lowkeying it but he has thought about this. Processed it. Worked through it. Came out the other side where the job is to be an ally.

Read 8 tweets
9 May
Happy Mother’s Day to every mom who has ever made their kids a hot breakfast but not eaten their own until was cold.

Happy Mother’s Day to the moms who put their kids first.

Biological or adoptive; parent or stepparent; a mother is the one who shows up - no matter what the birth certificate says.

If you are that kid’s shoulder, a parent they trust who comes through and cares, who hurts when they hurt and takes joy in their joy, you are a mom.

A mom isn’t someone who just performs tasks; a mom is someone who loves from way down deep and who shows it.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms who don’t just perform the function but instead inhabit the role.

Read 5 tweets
8 May
Twitter is the worst platform for sharing music. For copyright reasons, I’m limited largely to reposting clips people have already shared.

So, this is a hodge-podge of a thread... and it won’t do justice to the artist... but this is Bella White.

We get hung up on genres. We should just listen to music without worrying about what box it fits into.

Bella White is a poignant singer-songwriter. Her songs feel timeless.


Her album, Just Like Leaving, is music for wide-plank floors and country inns and breakfasts of homemade preserves on warm toast.


Read 6 tweets
1 May
Broad also established The Broad Academy which churned out a string of disastrous, incompetent public education administrators who wreaked havoc on large public school districts.

And while everyone is praising Broad, his Academy’s model was somewhere between ignorant and racist.
Broad’s attempts to hijack control of public ed. by churning out unqualified disciples was nothing short of an unmitigated disaster for city after city.

Yeah, sorry, let’s not anoint a rich guy for being a patron of the arts while also doing harm to disadvantaged schools.
Oof, haven’t thought about this in years. Totally brought back the pitched, vitriolic battle in my town over his disciple’s “improvements.”

At one pt, thanks to Broad’s “teach to the test” obsession with standardized testing, my son had six straight periods of math and English.
Read 5 tweets

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