Nina enjoyed her garden in the afternoon, still calling it a garden, though little gardening occurred these days. She was content with what had survived drought and arthritis. The roses had dwindled to an admirable “Old Blush” that bloomed through a tangle of honeysuckle, and a sprawling “Knockout” she disliked. But it gave color.
What she liked more and more was sitting in her old chair watching birds, daydreaming, and jotting down her thoughts, sometimes turning them into a poem. She discovered that observing nature and writing poetry made good companions.
On a Saturday afternoon, late in September, something new entered Nina’s garden. A young family, Jason and Trish, and their children, Ben and Paulette, had recently moved next door. A yellow balloon on the mailbox announced a birthday party for Ben. Nina heard the normal party sounds. Then there was something else. Quiet; then applause. A pause, a bit of chatter, quiet; then applause.
She had to see what was happening. She went to peer over the shoulder-high privet hedge, and watched as an older man, assisted by an older woman, did something astonishing. He held a sort-of frame down into a tub. Then he lifted it out and held it in the air, like an offering. He made a gentle swaying motion. And in the respectful silence, a curious elongated bubble came into being. It held everyone suspended. What would be its eventual shape, size? How long would it last, and where land? Or would it go somewhere beyond them? And then, everyone went “aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah” and clapped. Then it happened again. And again.
Jason saw Nina. “Come on over! Join us, Nina.” She didn’t hesitate. She watched the children do what children naturally do — line up to take a turn. They had every belief they could do it, and the Bubble Man patiently assisted them. Nina, like everyone else, willed them to succeed. And often they did.
New in Nina’s garden: bubbles. And children.
“String, dowels, pot of suds!” graceful, painted air the gentle wizard makes his magic