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The Garden

The apple tree blooms in May. It reminds me of the way I tell the myth Demeter and Persephone. "Every spring when Persephone returns, Demeter's heart is full of joy, and the earth is cloaked in bright green. She spreads her arms to greet her daughter, and the apple trees blossom."


Phil takes his "garden walk" each day when he returns home from work. Louie, the pooch, rushes out to greet him!

August 28, 2007

The garden is my husband, Phil's, project. It was carefully planned to attract birds and butterflies. It works! Wildlife is attracted to the garden, and it can feel like a magic fairy land sometimes. It is also a source of conflict for Phil and me. I say it takes up too much time. He feels it only takes a little. We quibble as we pull weeds and thin the bergamot together.

This summer has been hotter than usual. There has been no rain for eleven days. The air is still, the sun hot, and a predicted thunderstorm does not come. We wipe the sweat from our brows as we rip out invasive Forget-me-nots, and we talk about this thing called global warming. We wonder how any small changes we make in our life style might save future generations.

A slight breeze refreshes us as we take a break from our work, and we sit on the deck with a glass of iced tea. A hummingbird visits one of the hanging boxes. We easily locate a female ruby throated hummingbird when we hear the familiar whirring sound of its wings. She perches on a red nicotiana five feet away from me, and she makes a short, quiet chirp! Then I actually hear her sip from the trumpet shaped flower. The barely audible slurp sounds like a child with a straw, greedily enjoying the last drops of a milkshake. And, to me, this small, small sound reflects the joy and miracle of the interdependence of life. To me, this is God.

The mysteries and miracles of life present themselves in unexpected ways. I feel renewed. Today I heard two sounds that I have never heard before - sounds that I never had given any thought to and had no awareness of: the voice of a hummingbird; the lusty slurp as nectar goes from the flower to the bird. I feel refreshed and renewed - comforted and comfortable. This small interaction between plant and animal restores my faith that God is good, and it gives me hope.

When I return to the garden, I give thanks for those plants that friends have given us: Columbine from Ginny, Lily of the Valley from Mike, Lungwort from Renee, Hydrangea from Pat, Red Day Lilies from Tom and Riva, Foam Flowers from Suze, tall grass from Gerry, and most recently, red Dahlias from Barbara. How can tending the garden feel like a tiresome chore when I am surrounded by such fine memories?

Each plant that grows in the garden thrives because of the care of the gardeners. I realize that friendships, like gardens, need care and maintenance. Let us make the time to be fully present each moment - to attend to each other and to find joy in daily life.

Katie Green