Little pleasures. Good times.

I did a typical Australian activity today: I fixed the garden hose and watered the plants.

I didn’t have a garden when growing up.

Since moving to Canberra eight months ago, I’ve lived in two other share houses, and neither of them had anything more than a pathetic excuse for grasses. The first was in a fancy apartment building, on the sixth floor, overlooking the beautiful lake. But it was full of material things accumulated over its 12 years of being a shared residence. The place didn’t even have a clothesline to dry laundry. Instead, fancy as it is, it had a dryer. It even had a dishwasher that I never used. Any dream of plant-tending was out of the question unless I did it on the balcony, which was rather large, but also dusty and uninviting.

The second was an individual house. Old and creaking. Every morning, the house echoed with the wish-wash of the flushing toilet as one after the other, the three of us living there did our morning rituals. It had a decent-sized backyard that the longest-standing housemate used as a food dumping ground for possums.

And then I moved in to where I am now—a home with a large backyard and plenty of plants. And for a few days now, I’ve had the responsibility to take care of the garden. From basil and tomatoes and big unknown trees to no-water pot plants, my backyard is now full of luscious greenery. And with the summer looming, and the smoke from bushfires in New South Wales bellowing into Canberra, I’ve grown more responsible and fond of maintaining the greenery.

For the first few days, all was well. I spent 15 minutes every other day, spraying the bushes. Yesterday, however, the hose burst out from the tap when I twisted it on. After about 10 minutes of fiddling with a garden tool, I didn’t know the name of, I gave up and took up the watering can instead. What followed was the most strenuous half hour I’ve had in a while. I did not enjoy watering all those plants with a can.

I had to do something about it.

So I went to the closest supermarket today and scanned the shelves for something that looked like the malfunctioning gadget at home. It was a kind of hose connector. Within five minutes of getting home, clutching the new tool, grinning all over in my head, proud of my achievement, I was showing the plants with more gusto than I ever thought possible.

As I stood there almost dancing in the muddy leaves that clung to my feet like a child to its mother at the school gates, I felt elated. My spirits rose with the sweet smell of warm air evaporating from the wet sand, and I enjoyed every moment if that bliss.

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