Several months ago, a bench and plaque kindly donated by a local pharmacist and the village were installed along the walking trail near Seventh Street and Veterans Ave.
Recognizing that the site (dedicated to my brother), was in need of a little attention, mother and I began to clean up the debris, trim the weeping willow tree and remove weeds. With informal approval from the village, we proceeded to plant a small garden of non-invasive, low water perennials. Mother would fill up buckets of water from the farm and transport it every day or so to tend to the garden.
During the process, we gratefully received a lot of support and encouragement from diverse members of the community. Some hoped our actions would inspire others to do the same, others acknowledged our efforts and would pause for a rest while walking their dog along the trail. An RV owner offered to ensure the spot was kept tidy. A trucker carrying bees to Calgary offered a helping hand with heavy work. We received offers of plants, potting soil and even an Eagle Feather. I looked forward to my evening phone calls home when my Mother would describe her latest encounter with a friend or kind stranger. Not only had this small garden generated conversations among strangers from all walks of life but also they took pride in taking care of it too.
The act of planting a garden in honour of my brother has been healing and transformative for my parents. It was an invitation to friends and strangers to come, linger, and to contemplate. We are grateful that this tiny garden generated so much positive energy!
However, not only did the Eagle Feather disappear but also, so did nine – ten plants.This was clearly a premeditated act. The anonymity and extent of the act was disturbing. After a few weeks, and with the full support of my parents, we decided to install an art installation called “Planting for Community Discussion”. It is unlikely we will ever know who is responsible for this act, but hopefully this letter and the public art project will cause the perpetrator to stop, reconsider and not repeat it in the future.