Gennaro bent to his task, stepped back from carefully clearing last years leaves. The garden on wooded slopes, held above the promontory that tumbled down to the Tyrrhenian Sea, smelt of Jasmine, Lavender, dampened earth and fresh new shoots. The clattering, chattering birds, high in the tress, seem to applaud his efforts.
His bright grey eyes set in a brown suntanned face were matched by an ebullient grey moustache. His well-earned wrinkles and smile revealed a man who was truly happy. His task, to some a labour, was for him a joy.
He did it well.
He loved the soil that bore riches.
He welcomed the plants; helped their young to grow; looked after the older ones.
He gives each their needs for a good life – nothing more. He understands the order of the garden; why plants grow how they should smell, what makes them happy.
It is clear that Gennaro truly understands nature and his purpose within nature.
As I watch him I can see that he is absorbed; complete in his world; united with the land, the trees, plants and all life that wraps around him. He touches our world lightly, takes nothing from it that he does not return threefold.
He gently sweeps the leaves away with bound twigs. He is at peace in what he does and the way he does it. He watches as the seasons deliver to him a perfection that buildings and money do not provide.
Over my time in his space, I can see that, for Gennaro:
The only programme is the natural one. Even if its late it doesn’t matter because some things need time and nurturing and they will come.
Quality is achieved by caring, encouraging and creating the freedom for good things to happen.
The only way to reach perfection in his garden is to love it and to understand its needs.
Perfection only comes through knowledge, time, care and love.
Far away from Gennaro, on the London bound commuter cattle truck where blurry eyes buck chasers only find solace in their screens and headphones, I think back. I see Gennaro still smiling; carefully placing the world in balance and himself within it.
If we can love our labour, it would cease to be work.
If we understand nature we would live in harmony.
If we can achieve perfection in the simple things we can create perfection in more complex things such as our lives, our relationships and our environment.
Perhaps each one of us has much to learn from Gennaro.