Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – June 20, 2004
Watering My Garden
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – June 20, 2004 – I have an extremely busy afternoon with clients, so I got up early so I could look after The Alphabet Boys and then have breakfast in my garden. I sat out on the deck with Augie and drank my coffee and munched on fresh fruit, toast and cheese. Augie stretched out on the chaise in the sunshine and was soon chasing cats (probably Ziggy) in his dreams.
I finished eating and got out the garden shears. The grape ivy is once again in hot pursuit of anything in its path and it needs to be pruned into submission. The Euonymous is also in line for a clipping, and the hanging flower pots and deck plants need to be dead-headed, trimmed and cleaned out.
The fountain requires some attention. The water needs to be refreshed and the rocks redistributed. As I was working, the sun moved around overhead and its rays warmed my back and arms. Its heat felt like warm silk on my skin. I sat down with a sigh and looked around my garden. I love the variety of shrubbery, the different tones and textures and the bright splash of red that the Japanese maple contributes to an otherwise, predominantly green garden. The potted and hanging plants are maturing and their blooms add every colour of the rainbow to my garden.
When I finished pruning and cleaning I got out the garden hose and re-filled the fountain and watered the gardens. Arthur, Roger and Duncan – the Gargoyles had morning showers, as did the dragonflies and the metal Iguana who hangs on the north wall. I soaked the Hornbeam, the Japanese Maple, the Weeping Larch, the Hicks Yews and finally the Flowering Dogwood.
I planted this tree about four years ago and it has struggled a bit to get rooted and settled into the garden. I have a soft spot in my heart for this tree. It’s young and it wants to grow strong and tall. In past years I haven’t watered the gardens enough during the really hot summer days, and the mid-afternoon heat has been particularly hard on the Dogwood. The ferns under it were typically brown by mid-July and the Dogwood was wilted by August.
This year, after the pergola went up, I moved the garden umbrella over to the north-west corner to give some shade to that part of the garden, and with regular watering the tree has flourished. I got comfortable on my concrete bench beside Duncan, who was still damp from his earlier shower, and marvelled at the beauty of my garden.
The arc of water that was cascading down on the Dogwood was split by the sun’s rays, and thousands of golden beads of water rained down on the tree. The leaves are the beautiful, rich green of Granny Smith apples. I experienced an incredible feeling of pure joy in this simple task of caring for the trees and plants in my garden.
Someone much wiser and more eloquent than I, once suggested that a garden is a metaphor for life. I think there is an eloquent truth to this. Seeds are nourished by the rain and sunshine. They become seedlings that mature through the seasons into beautiful, strong plants. The garden is their home. We humans grow through the stages of our lives to maturity, within the safety of our homes and families. Cared for and nurtured by those who love us.
As each season ends, both we and the garden are changed. Sometimes for the better and sometimes not, but grow and change we must, regardless of our circumstances. The constant cycles of life – birth, death and re-birth, in each new year offer us the opportunity to reap the rewards of the accumulated strength and wisdom of the year gone by.
I feel a lot like my beautiful Dogwood tree. I have faced, and will continue to be challenged by the seasons of life – but God willing, with the warmth of the sun on my back, and people to care for us, both I and my Dogwood will flourish.
If you want to appreciate life, pick a simple task that gives you genuine pleasure and perform it with great care, respect and love. You will not be disappointed with the outcome – I promise