I like to think that everyone looks forward to going to their work, to a job that is their hobby, and to spend their work day with people they like. I am that fortunate, and this morning on the ferry ride to the island, my volunteers surprised me with a poem, homemade cookies and a token of their appreciation for me.
One of my volunteers, a talented song writer and singer, wrote a
Gardener’s Ode to Shelagh Fritz.
To Shelagh Fritz who always knows
Exactly how her garden grows
And thus imparts this sage advice
“Rid oxalis at any price!”
Thus we perch on cellhouse slope
With hori hori and the hope that
Wind will die and sun come out
That does not always come about.
More likely that a chilling rain
Trickles down my neck to drain
Inside the shirt that once was dry
A chill so deep my fingers cry,
“Enough, now to the ferry get
Before the toes know they are wet”
But oh this island has a knack
Of luring all the gardeners back.
“Why do we come?” Well, since you ask
The mundane nature of the task
Upon that rock, in the middle of that bay
Puts you in a soulful way.
What does all this have to do with Shelagh?
We’d like to tell her that she rocks!
But please, Ms. Fritz, we have one question,
Along with gloves can you get us some socks?
By Beth Marlin Lichter
I am constantly amazed by the people that come out to the island, rain or shine, to help in the gardens. Just today, I worked with a group of interns from Filoli, a family whose children were earning their Girl Scout and Boy Scout badges, and my regular dedicated volunteers. All the volunteers come for their own reasons – new in town, new to gardening, want to meet more people, stay active, or just to try something new – but the ones that keep coming back, I think all stay for the same reason; they are the one that have discovered that the Gardens of Alcatraz are a really special place, and once you put your hands in the soil and you start caring for the island, it become a part of you.
Thank you to all my volunteers and staff, you keep me coming back too.