Sunday, October 26, 2014

Walking in the Magical Garden with Mom and Dad

This piece was originally published in my column, The Magical Gardener, in today's Samhain edition of the Sunday Stew. Please be sure to head on over and read the entire edition, a delicious blend of spiritual flavors and nourishment for the soul.

Samhain is nearly here and I find myself thinking of my mom and dad more and more with each passing day. Most of my thoughts are just memories, some vivid in detail like reliving a few moments in time and others are dull, just a flash that leaves me struggling to place it in the timeline of my life. Some thoughts are directed tight at them. Daddy, you would be so proud of your grandson right now. Mommy, you would have loved this Sweet Pea (my niece). How do I make that beef stew again, Mom? I wish you could have seen that concert with me, Dad! And then there are the thoughts that are just wonderings. Would Mommy read this book? Would Daddy buy this album? The odd one that keeps creeping into my mind is if they would have loved my garden.

Both of my parents were avid gardeners. They started as summer-gardeners at our seashore home where we went from the end of school to Labor Day each year, planting tomatoes and other vegetables and tending to the flowering plants and shrubs that grew their every year. Later in life, after they divorced, my dad continued his love of gardening in the courtyard of his city apartment and my mom created a sprawling garden at her new suburban home. Both had different styles of gardening. My mom gravitated towards the English cottage style, planting herbs, roses and other flowering, healing perennial plants, informal and wild-looking. My dad, on the other hand, liked a lot of texture and depth, a more landscaped look and design, using ornamental grasses and lilies. My own garden is more like my mother’s as far as plantings but has many textures like my father’s gardens, a blend of both, just like I am.

Mommy passed away before I became an avid gardener. She gave me a few flowering shrubs when my hubby and I moved into our first home, which I planted in our small backyard and tended to lovingly because she gave them to me. After she died, I realized that caring for these shrubs made me feel closer to her. At that same time, I fell in love with herbs, all that they are, all that they do, for cooking, for magic, for healing. I planted a small herb garden and, only a few years later, I had dug up most of my backyard, pulled out every bit of grass I could, to create larger garden beds full of flowering perennials, herbs and vegetables.

My father was still here then and overjoyed at this change. When at my home for holidays or other events, he would take his pipe outside to sit among the plants and peace in my yard, constantly marveling at the transformation. He was even more pleased when I announced that I was going to school to become a Master Gardener. He had just undergone brain surgery to remove a tumor and I told him the news of my acceptance to the program as he was recovering in the hospital. He thought it was marvelous and was so excited to share in all the knowledge I would gain from it. We made plans for him to come to my house and spend the day in my garden, just spending time with me and my plants. But then, he took a turn for the worst and, just as I was starting my classes, he passed away.

So would they love my garden now? Oh, I think so. In fact, I know so. I have many of the plants they loved there – lilac, rosemary, yarrow, grasses, day lilies, and roses. It’s wild yet full of color and texture, full of sweet scents and joyful sights. Some days, as I am working among the plants and digging in the dirt, I can feel them there, peering over my shoulders, curious to see what is being planted next. Sometimes I envision them there, huddled together on the patio, discussing the garden, pointing at this or that, praising the herbs or marveling at the goldfinches nibbling the coneflowers. Sometimes I spy them from my kitchen window, strolling around the yard, my dad with one hand in his pocket and the other on his pipe clenched between his teeth, and my mother next to him, her hair caught by the breeze and her face lit up with her smile, autumn leaves floating to the ground around them. I want to walk with them for a while. I slip on my old canvas gardening shoes and head out the back door to be in the magic of that moment.

1 comment:

  1. So beautifully written and filled with love with a touch of sadness~