There is a nice little town in South Devon, England called Coffinswell.
I like to go there from time to time to Court Barton, a manor house of the 16th Century, the south part of this manor house was used as a court house for some time, but it still looks as beautiful as ever.
Recently I was walking through the lanes and tracks leading to the neighbouring hamlet of Daccombe, when I saw a man doing some gardening work in the front of Court Baron.
I greeted him cheerfully and he answered in the same way. But he kept looking intensely to the grass in front of him, like waiting for an answer.
I remained in silence for a while and as he appeared to be reaching too deep into his thoughts, I prepared to continue my promenade.
“Care to give me a hand to water my lawn, lad?” As I turned to the other side to continue my stroll I heard a funny voice coming from the direction that man was standing.
“Sure” I said as I turned my head to look at him once more.
He was still intensely looking at the grass.
I picked up the green hose lying on the lawn and tried to push the trigger of the pistol nozzle, but no water came out of it.
“Would you try to water the flowers before turning the tap on?” The old man asked still staring at the grass.
“Well, no, but what are you waiting for? Why are you staring at the grass so intensely?” I asked.
“You know what the problem of these new generation really is?” He said, turning his head towards me for the first time.
I waited for the revelation in silence.
“They never think before doing something.” He paused for a while, then continued: “You speak first and then you realise what you said was wrong, but it is too late to fix it, you immediately do something and then afterwards you begin to think about it, therefore making more mistakes than necessary. You rush to buy things with money you haven´t yet earned, and then it takes you years to balance your credit again. That is, your main problem.” He said pressing his lips very hard like if I would not get any explanation out of him anymore.
I looked at him in silence trying to find a reason why he told me that, but despite the speed of my thoughts I was not able to find a logical one.
“May I turn on the tap now Sir?” I asked.
“If you water this flower here (he pointed to a group of pretty flowers I do not know the name of), you would have drowned them, and all my work of two months would have been lost. So, avoid watering this area of the garden please. But take longer watering that area over there where those wild bushes are waiting for a good bath, they need much more water then the rest of the garden.” He kept giving me instructions on water requirements for a while until I stood there with the hose in my hand knowing not what to do next.
“Are you waiting for the Teign (a river in that area) to do the job for you?” He asked impatiently so, I ran to turn on the tap and began to water the garden as careful as I could and trying to remember all the instructions I received.
As I saw the man go shaking his head in disapproval of my botanical ignorance I began to reflect on the importance of taking your time before, speaking, doing and deciding important things in life. How many times have I rushed to take a decision or to say something too fast, just to suffer the consequences a little while later?
Maybe I did not learn too much about gardening that evening, but now I am doing my best to think things twice before doing or saying something in a rush.
I know it is not possible to do it all the time, but I am working on slowing myself down a little. After all, time is just a spatial coordinate and it is better to be right than sorry afterwards.
So, next time you are watering your garden, I promise not to interrupt you.