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August 18, 2019

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Monty Siekerman: Insight in unexpected places

By Monty Siekerman
Sometimes you find insight in unexpected places.

I recently attended a gathering of writers and artists at ONU, but came away with some insight about my job, which is neither writing poetry nor putting beautiful lines on canvas.

I learned to look at my job differently, my job as a simple gardener at the Railroad Depot Park.
Sure, I love gardening, seeing the beautiful flowers bloom, watching mothers push baby carriages through the park, business people scurrying to work, students walking dogs (even one guy with a cat on a leash).

But the poet who read his works and the artist who illustrated the poet's book, showed me that the flowers in the park are more than something pretty.

The flowers (now ending their season of riotous color) play against other objects: The historic train station, the train tracks, Civil War cannon, sesquicentennial clock.

The station's doors are flanked by large (and old) spirea bushes, like sentinels.

The tracks bring long (very long and fast) trains through the heart of town, the engineer's whistle blowing loudly. In contrast, the flowers are quiet and peaceful, maybe a rustle of leaves now and then. Does anyone hear grasshoppers chewing? I hope not.

The rusty cannon, set on granite blocks, tells of a long ago time. The park's plants reflect some heirloom varieties as well as some of the newest kinds: Yesterday/Today.

The clock, with its pleasant chimes and rings, recalls a happy year of celebration when Ada turned 150. Back then, my wife and daughters dressed in handmade, old-time outfits with bonnets (I did not grow a beard for the contest.)

Upon reflection, I learned to look at the garden as a whole, how the flowers play against other elements.

I took home not only a story and photo for the Ada Icon, but also a new way to look at my work.

Perhaps the next time you pass by or through the little downtown park, you, too, will see more than a bright red hibiscus or a caboose in need of repair.

Perhaps the next time you see an event publicized, you'll attend because, who knows, you might come away with a new insight, reflection, or idea.