Everything you used to love and enjoy can get lost in the fast paced hours of a day. One day you walk into the garden and the flowers are more like ghosts of some happier self who had hope and enthusiasm to start something.
I have a rusted shovel in the backyard, it fell down early in the summer, back when it was cool enough to plant and I had hope and energy to want to start a garden. Now the birds have stopped coming mostly, except for a determined few.
The stubborn blue jays scold me having failed to bring them their peanuts for quite a while. The chickadees I once hoped would visit have all left along with the babies that were raised in the thick vines and bushes that have become my backyard.
Have you ever stopped and listened for a moment and realized that you were running so fast you didn’t even realize it. Time goes really fast if you’re not paying attention to it.
The other day I photographed the remnants of order in the garden. I noticed rich red blooms of the zinnia at their peak, butterflies of several different species darted to each flower.
One morning this week, I got to sit outside for a few minutes and I remembered how much a garden had been a solace for me. As a child I remember writing notes about everything I saw, birds and insects, I think it taught me to see details that eventually would turn into paintings and even poetry.
Nature was always my escape and when we get older we forget the little things. I remember how proud I was of our first trees we bought for our new backyard in Sachse; it was when the Woodbridge edition was a few small houses and wide-open fields.
I quickly continued to fill my yard with too many trees for a quickly shrinking space. I bought a pine tree when my son came home from the hospital- it was to be his tree. My younger son and I ate fresh plums from the trees that we still talk about today.
When times got bad, I mean really bad, the garden was my oasis and my youngest son was always there with me. It gave me peace and calm in a turbulent time in my life. When I got laid off I built a walkway and a whole new, more manicured area of trees was created.
I remember watching every spring, as the smallest bits of green would show me there was hope. Tomorrow was a whisper of green on the redbuds and the Cherry Laurel. I saved the Cherry Laurel from a garden center; it was in such bad shape they gave it to me for free.
Not only is peace and calm a necessary way for the soul to recharge, it is also a chance to reflect, to truly listen. I found God in that garden in Sachse; he kept me calm and peaceful while my life was falling apart.
I found elements of myself in that same garden, a tangle of disorganized limbs. A beautiful chaos that spoke about change and the hope for tomorrow, a somewhat more manicured garden, maybe an English garden.
We can learn much from a garden, it teaches us about the desperation of winter, the hope of spring and the exhaustion of a hot summer. Fall is about death but it is also about rich colors and a celebration of life itself. If we are quiet enough nature will tell us so many things we need to know.
God speaks a language and his presence can be felt in the garden that speaks of time, nourishment, death and renewal. I listened to God this week, I held that rusted shovel and thought about what tomorrows’ garden might look like. I’m already excited to see the new green buds of spring.