(Photo credit to Stephanie Hendricks)
This picture on my niece's Facebook page caught my eye. What a lovely afternoon with friends -- "doing lunch" together under the arbor at a South African winery. I could feel the cool breeze and see the dappled sunlight on my skin, and hear the lively chatter of adventurous college girls among the clatter of dishes. Memories in the making.
How many years does it take for vines to grow into a living ceiling? The hands that planted this arbor probably did not live long enough to enjoy its benefits. They planted unselfishly, looking ahead to future generations who would spend just such an afternoon as this. I have often thought about what I reap today that has its roots in what others have sown - nuts from a majestic pecan tree, apples from an orchard of gnarled-trunk trees, fragrant aromas from a profusion of blooms on a rose-blanketed picket fence, delicious juicy tomatoes from heirloom varieties carefully preserved through the years.
I am grateful for the unselfishness of gardeners past. What can I do today to pay it forward?