The Helper

Wooden armour aligns the shrubs; protecting Mummy and myself. The emerald topped elephant legs tower above, shielding us from neighbouring kingdoms. The trees’ offspring of golden brown fall helplessly in the autumnal breeze. Mr Next-Door commenting on how marvellous the flowerbeds looked, how gifted I was with the shovel. My weapon of choice in any outdoor activity. “Mummy’s little helper.” My furrowed brows scowl at the walls lining the flowerbeds, as they fail to camouflage us from this nosey intruder. My contribution being to stab at the lawn repeatedly with my garden sword before moulding together matted, green hairballs to nest black crawlies. I kneel on the grass, shovelling holes for bed space, a burrow replica, as I anticipate the next herd of visitors. I am assigned Noah, as I prepare sleeping arrangements for my feral guests. Replacing Mummy’s newly planted carnations for muddy tunnels; entrances for the ants’ next arrival. My formerly white tights now dyed swamp green. Battle scars; later soothed with stain-remover. These scars of imagination became legitimate, when my toddler self faced a physical opponent. No dragons coming to sabotage Noah’s ark, but the wobbly back door step. My destination being the toilet, my toddler self raced indoors. Cracking one’s head open connotes something of a nursery rhyme nature, yet no Humpty Dumpty activities were witnessed in my family garden. Instead, a crimson puddle and an ambulance were the aftermath of my gardening efforts.

My ‘active imagination’ was a common remark made by teachers in later years. I agreed; my former ‘gardening’ technique being the early indicator to my Mother. ­

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