Sunday, April 26, 2009
Storm of stones
One pleasant June Saturday I was putting in a little extra time weeding the garden because the weeds were just as tall as the peas, close to my height. They had sprung up after a warm rain, and I was determined to find the plants we had intended to raise.
Instead of kneeling for hour after hour - or at least minute after minute - I took some newspaper with me and sat on it while I weeded. The cats brushed against me as I sat there beneath walls of vegetation that spread as far as the eye could see in all directions. It was a bit steamy down there out of the breeze, and even at the tops of the weed stalks there was little movement.
As I was plucking away, I was somewhat surprised to hear the sound of a vehicle close by and approaching but I thought the neighbors might be loading or unloading their pickup nearby.
As I sat there in the weeds, I heard a thud quite close to me, then several more. Rocks were falling nearby.
I pushed myself to my feet and there before me was a shocking site: the neighbors' truck was backed up to the edge of our garden and their children were lobbing rocks into it.
All I could think to say was HEY!
When they saw me, they jumped down from the truck and ran, and their dad, who was driving, stepped on the gas and zoomed back into their yard.
In reality the rocks were stones maybe the size of a fist or so, and they lay here and there around the garden, having knocked down as many weeds as vegetables. I picked them up and added them to our tidy pile, and little material harm was done.
But the hostility was disturbing. Clearly they hadn't seen me or expected anyone to be around when they launched their attack, and I don't know how many more rocks they might have tossed into the garden if I hadn't been there. The thought that someone would enlist his 12 and 10 year olds and his 3 year old to throw rocks into a neighbor's garden was seriously disturbing. Our kids played with theirs! How could anyone think of doing such a thing?
We did nothing. What could be done? I felt we were dealing with an irrational man, one capable of violent acts. It left me rattled, uncomprehending, confused...