Bountiful Nature


The cornucopia or the horn of plenty is a mythical symbol of abundance and nourishment, attribute of several Greek and Roman deities, in particular those associated with harvest, prosperity and luck or spiritual abundance.
I have seen an unusual cornucopia during the last four years in my grandfather’s garden. For me there was the cradle of my beautiful dreams and my spiritual development. Located in a small village, near the house, our garden was an apple orchard, with a small enclosed area used for growing vegetables, spices and flowers. The garden itself is like a big apple, being in fact a small round hillock, atop of which one can see the village street or admire the distant mountain peaks.
The garden is isolated from other gardens or houses, and like this it was possible for me to take a shower there without being seen (the old houses in that old village don’t have sewerage system or bathroom inside). It is so good when you can wash yourself with your feet directly on the ground, feeling the sun and the gentle summer breeze on your skin. Then basking in the sun laying in the soft grass sprinkled with clover. Eventually reading a favorite book. It was a true paradise for me, a real cornucopia.
But what happened in the last four years is even more fantastic. Some apple trees from our garden got dry. My uncle replaced them with young grafts, all over the garden. My grandfather was still alive, but getting older he was obliged to renounce raising sheep, he gave away his horse and he didn’t raise pigs anymore. He kept a few hens and his dog.
And while his strength lessened from one day to another, the garden was blooming and bearing fruit much more than before. Unusual phenomena appeared. For example giant pumpkins grew in 2007 where he used to keep the manure used to enrich the soil (that was normal!) and the most unusual thing: a tall corn thread with a big cob grew among stones in the courtyard, I took a picture of it.
In the autumn of 2009 it was the biggest apple crop I had ever seen there. The trees were crowded with apples, I just couldn’t believe my eyes, I took a few pictures. It was like this in the whole village. Instead of pumpkins, (in the enclosure for manure), sunflowers grew very big and tall, raising their heads over the walls.
In the autumn of 2011 the apple orchard was also bountiful, but not like it was in 2009. And instead of sunflowers a sort of very tall and rich golden dahlias were charming my eyes.
My grandfather was old and ill, still working as he could to maintain order and to clean the household. He died in April, this year.
The story of that house and garden guarded by my grandpa and the few happy days I spent there in the last years reminds me of “The Neverending Story”, of the unconditional, maternal love of Dame Eyola (Ayuola), which is there a kind of cornucopia for a lost child. For me it was the same. I was raised there as a child, clinging to my grandparents’ love, fed with fresh milk, fruits and vegetables. In the end of his life my grandfather gave me again a part of his love through those bountiful trees and expansive flowers. Isn’t it a little strange?

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