The lazy breeze tousled the old man’s hair.He pushed his wire framed glasses up his crooked nose. The early morning sun streaked through the trees, leaving a unique pattern of shadows across the garden. He lifted his small, rusty shovel and pushed aside the crusty dirt, then placed a purple pansy in the dirt crevasse that he had created. The old man gently brushed a splotch of mud off one of its soft petals. What a beautiful form of life, he admired the flower. So delicate, but tough enough to survive in this dangerous world. Pansies were always Annie’s favorite. He sighed, remembering the face of his deceased wife. The old man smiled sadly as he looked up at the wispy clouds, coasting through the sky. “You don’t worry about me, Annie. Just enjoy yourself in heaven, alright? We’ll have plenty of time to garden together when I pass through God’s gates too."
The piercing chirp of a robin interrupted his thoughts. Startled, he spun around. The bird was perched on the splintered wood of the fencepost. “Why, hello there little birdie,” he chuckled, sunlight glinting off its shiny beak. The robin gave one last chirp and fluttered away. The old man crouched back down on his weary knees and began inspecting his tomatoes. The vibrant reds and the dark creases were the perfect contrast. He cradled the ripe vegetable in his rough, calloused hands. A brown, decayed leaf broke free from another plant, gently rocking back and forth, descending through the air, before settling on the man’s boot. “Oh my,” a tear forming behind his eyes. “Poor little flower.” He scrambled over to it, his hands shaking. It devastated him when his plants died. It meant he couldn't provide safety and protection for his precious garden. He said a prayer and laid the tiny leaf next to the flower.