I lost my blue handled trowel, and then I found it again.
I lose it about every six months or so. I bury it accidentally in a pile of leaves or it falls behind something, or I leave it dug into a bed where I was weeding and somehow can’t see it for a week.
But this time I couldn’t find it. I looked in the compost and the green waste bin. Then I looked in the other bins, and behind everything twice. I went around the shed and looked on every flat surface, and as our shed is a double garage crammed to the roof with beds and tables and heaters and suitcases and garden chairs, and behind all that plastic crates of fabric, christmas decorations, camping stuff, broken and working bicycles, and a wild assortment of cupboards, not to mention my mother’s furniture still stiffly mummified in its packaging, then there are plenty of places a trowel might have been put down in a distracted moment.
So I came inside and thought about why this was such a perplexing loss. What is about this trowel that seems so lucky and irreplaceable?
Here’s the thing: I like the weight of it. I like that when it’s been lying in the sun, it feels warm, and the mud dries on it and brushes off, and the steel shines. It doesn’t rust. It has a kink in the tip, like a cat that’s caught its tail in a door, from where I once tried to jemmy some onion grass out of a crack in the concrete.
Having thought about all this, I went back into the shed, and there it was, slipped under the handle of a cast iron camping pot at the back of a darkened shelf.
The relief is indescribable.