We used to watch the gardener from our window at work and say he had the best job, out in summer in the grass or winter in the snow. He scattered grass seed with his hand and mowed the grass when it had grown long enough. We watched him on his smoke breaks in the shade.
His enemy was the mole at night. Our gardener would surround fresh molehills with bottles upended on stakes to send the sound of wind down their tunnels, but the mole was not so easily put off and each morning new eruptions spotted his lawn.
When our gardener stopped coming to work not long ago, we wondered where he was. Yesterday, we were told he had been in hospital with lung cancer, just breathing, "no lungs at all," and that yesterday he died.
On a break in the afternoon a friend at work and I were talking. He's the oldest man here now -- "just two years younger" -- and he showed me pictures of his village cottage and garden and a satellite photo of where we all live, and he had one picture of our gardener they happened to take when they were trying out a new camera.
Today is as good a day as any for a funeral. There is a fine half moon this morning and the ground is hard and I can see from my window at work three molehills on the frosty grass.