Category Work practices


Sena’s shoulders are high and rigid. She runs a hand through her nappy hair for the umpteenth time and clenches and unclenches her jaw, but her eyes sparkle and her voice is full of mirth.


It is a gorgeous, sunny day in the nursery. Gauzy white curtains flutter at the screened sills. The windows across the western wall are thrown open, letting the spring breezes through–as well as the scents of fresh laundry flapping on the lines and apple pie baking in the kitchens.


We find her in the barn, her head in Jacob’s lap. Animals roam freely on the hills behind Ordinary, coming to the barn only for shelter. Weakened by illness, Bonnie must have sought comfort.


Sweat trickles from the band round my brow into my ears and down my cheek. The back of my hand, as I wipe my face, smells of dirt, more sweat and the oils of well-used, well-kept tools.


Village children have plenty of time to play and pursue their dreams in Ordinary. They also learn responsibility from an early age. Everyone, save the tiniest of tots, does one-half to one hour community service six days a week.


At table, we don’t say much the first few minutes. I suspect the others are as hungry as I. We nearly disgrace ourselves slurping and gorging.


Just as gardeners garden (that’s me), weavers weave, and builders build in Ordinary, anyone who loves to plan, cook, and assemble meals can choose more time in the kitchen.


Ralph’s eyes are soft, his smile gentle, reflecting my own. Making my way through the herb garden to the kitchen, I stop to pluck a bit of lemon thyme and crush it against my nose.