Mid-July I had the pleasure of seeing “Cadi & the Cursed Oak” displayed at the Children’s Flower Shower at Birchard Public Library in Fremont, Ohio. Every summer members of Whispering Meadows Garden Club select a children’s book, create a floral design for the book and then donate the book to the library. The gardening club has been sponsoring the event for 10 years.

Donna Foss, a master gardener and member of Whispering Meadows for 22 years, chose “Cadi” and designed this beautiful display. (Thank you, Donna.)

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“The story of ‘Cadi’ and the oak tree inspired me to use an old knot from a tree I had,” she says. “Along with oak leaves, hydrangea flowers, acorns and a small silver cup, it just seemed to support the story. Of course, a skeleton was hidden in the tree.”

Donna has been gardening for 50 years. She grew up on a farm and says both of her parents gardened – they had a large vegetable garden and many flower beds.

“Now it feels like I just have to get outside and play in the dirt,” she says.

That afternoon I picked up my twin sons who were visiting my aunt Ellen and uncle Skip. They had spent several days working – raising a Quonset hut, moving logs, filling in potholes in a gravel lane, clearing out a shed – and playing. They also came home with a generous gift. My uncle had spent the year prior collecting tools for them. And during the visit, he helped them each build a toolbox.

Cadi’s grandmother: “Our stories, they are roots do you see? Every story being told right now, every story waiting to be told, they are all connected to the roots of our past.”

Every Lost Art Press author I’ve interviewed for a profile talks about the people who have come before them, blood-related and not.

Cadi thought about her grandmother’s stories, passed from mothers to daughters who then became mothers. Over and again. She thought about her own mum and her many retellings of loved tales. She thought about the spirits’ stories, now inside her, and she thought about the stories yet to come.

Cadi leaned down and hollowed out a bit of earth. In it, she placed an acorn, and she gifted it a story.”

For every planted seed, every driven nail, every story told, someone is watching.

— Kara Gebhart Uhl


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