Friday, March 11, 2011

The Wiggly Bridge

Lisa Field is a horticulturist, a renowned conservationist, and a revered meditation teacher. She never smashes insects, never curses, and never needs to go on a diet.

One day Lisa was working in her garden, minding her own business, when two little girls popped up out of nowhere and started tossing fistfuls of dirt at her. Lisa, having once been a mean girl herself, recognized this mischief and evil laughter and knew the girls were really crying for help.

“Where’s your mother?”

The girls stomped all over Lisa’s succulents.

“Mommy drinks Daddy’s booze and tells us to run along.”

Ever since then, whenever the girls show up, Lisa takes them with her on her assignments as City Gardener. This is her effort to save these children from Nature-deficit Disorder.

Today, they are planting poinsettias in the Kate Sessions Canyon. But first they must cross the infamous Spruce Street Bridge, a rickety suspension footbridge.

The locals call it the Wiggly Bridge.

Rumor has it that not one single soul has ever made it across that shaky bridge without getting a Wiggles tune stuck in her head.

Lisa knows that these children rave on about that nursery-rhyming band from Australia, The Wiggles. When they get to the Wiggly Bridge, the girls lean far over the suspension wires, stretching their necks to see if Sam, Murray, Anthony, or Jeff may be playing hide and seek behind the queen palms.

The girls start to sing, “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing.”

Originally, Lisa had intended to walk slowly with the girls over the bridge, stopping now and then to point out and name different species of flora in the canyon far below. There’s twisted juniper. And there’s a blue cypress. There’s star jasmine. Lisa has always yearned to walk over all the Earth’s trails, paying homage to mother nature by teaching young children the names of all the wild things. Lisa wishes she could have children of her own. Alas, her partner, Rachel, does not want children.

Lisa could start to brood, or she could participate in the hot potato, cold spaghetti, banana mash dance steps the girls are doing to make the bridge sway and wobble. Lisa chooses to join the fun and quickly finds herself singing, “Dance the night away!” Her throat is a wild song, and the bridge is their perch. Lisa and these lost girls are birds on a wire. Lisa realizes she will need to teach them to fly.

Now, Lisa thinks she should be less concerned about saving children from Nature-deficit disorder and more concerned with recovering herself from Wiggle Mania.

No comments: