My 10-year-old daughter wanders out last Saturday to watch me in the garden. She seems intrigued by my ringing wet shirt. “You’re sweating,” she observes in a way that suggests that this is mildly inappropriate but also highly unusual.
I remove my hat and, hands on hips, survey the fruits of my labour. The overgrown and tangled jungle that had blighted the fence is now an empty sandy bed wherein I can allow my imagination –as opposed to the lawn – to run wild.
As if on cue, my daughter asks, “Now what are you going to put there, Dad?”
“Oh, there’ll be about four mid-size trees, some tall grasses of different colours and probably some river stones. “ I pause. “”See that corner, I might put a statue of Buddha there.”
My daughter has remarked on my apparent fetish for Buddha statues before. She says, “Dad, don’t you think God gets offended by all these Buddhas.” I am about to remind her that there are only four in the entire house but instead say simply, “No, I don’t think God would be offended by Buddha. I mean, he said the same sorts of things that all religions say. You know, don’t hurt other people, treat them like you want to be treated yourself. Don’t hang out with bad people.”
She squints up at me as if genuinely struck by a new truth.
“Is that what religions say?” she asks. “I thought that was just Mum.”