Once upon a time, I lived in a garden owned by a beautiful man and his equally lovely wife. The garden was their pride and joy though it had taken many many years of hard work to bring about such beauty. They walked the garden, sometimes together, sometimes separately, stopping to examine each shrub, each tree, each flower – to name it, to remember when it was planted, to remember where it had come from and to marvel at its progress. One day the man left the garden – there were things he needed to take care of in another time and another place – but he left the garden in the care of the lady, his wife. And care for it she did, until she could no longer.
And that, I guess, is where I came in. I had walked the garden, enjoyed the garden, with both. And now, from the woman, I learned the garden. I labelled the trees and shrubs and flowers, drew diagrams to help me remember and with her direction, I did what I could.
But it is not enough to love the trees and shrubs and flowers and to marvel at their beauty. A garden, while satisfying, is hard work – time consuming work – and we both acknowledged, the lady and I – that in consideration of other responsibilities, I could not maintain what they had worked so hard to create and we let certain areas of the garden return to nature.
The local plants and grasses quickly tangled themselves about the flowers they had so carefully cultivated and in no time, nature reclaimed its own with only the occasional surprise bloom to remind us of what had once been.
One day, too soon after, the lady too left the garden, though before she said good-bye, she marvelled at its beauty one last time.
… and it became mine,
A garden cannot be left alone for long before Mother Nature lays claim to it all and in very short order, the work of many years was erased.
This season I lay claim to the garden once again. It is painstakingly slow work, labour intensive, but incredibly satisfying.
It is easy to lose track of time and space in the garden, but in losing that time, I believe you find bits and pieces of yourself .