In the Garden – Part 1


This reflection grew out of a question from a company "Come Together" meeting. Someone had pushed back against the daily rat-race described in the short film This Is Water, which we had just watched. In response, another person asked: "Well, what does reality look like? How would you describe it?" This was followed by uncomfortable glances and a change of conversation. Of course, I was quietly turning over the film's failure to overcome the daily rat-race with its description of a better, more fulfilling way to live. But the unanswered question remained planted until the next month when the "Come Together" theme, Earth month, brought its own concerns. An answer to both that question and the concerns that I had had over the past two months burst forth in a vivid image that explained and transcended the daily rat-race. I will attempt to sketch that image as follows.

In the Garden (A Reflection)

My day started, as everyone's does, with my mother pushing me outside. I didn't want to go; it was too bright. She smiled at my remonstrances and said, "It's so bright because it's so beautiful. You'll find much to learn and do. Here's your lunch. Don't forget to bring a friend back for supper." Then she kissed my forehead and closed the door.

I stood there in the grey morning, not sure what to do next. Reluctantly, I turned away from the door and looked about.

I was standing on a short wooden deck that stretched along the side of the house. A few paces from me there were three steps down to a path that entered a high hedge which walled off a sort of garden. Rising above the hedge, gigantic oak limbs reached over the deck and the roof of the house.

A soft breeze shook the limbs above, sprinkling my head with three large drops of dew.

The hedge also swayed, appearing to beckon invitingly to one so newly christened. Encouraged by such friendly beckoning, and curious of what lay on the other side, I toddled down the steps, along the path, and into the entrance.

The hedge was thicker than I expected, meeting over my head before opening into a garden, but what a garden!

Small trees with large, thick waxy leaves and enormous white flowers stood on either side of that green portal, filling the air with their fragrance. I was looking up, slack-jawed, when a small insect buzzed out of one of the flowers. Startled, I jumped backward, tripped and landed on the cool dark earth next to the path, my carefully packed lunch pail clattering as it landed next to me. Rolling over, I looked up and saw a small stone boulder poking out of the path, with a point just high enough to trip over. I shook my fist at it, and then felt rather silly. It had probably been there for a few centuries, and I was the newcomer.

Standing up, I noticed another large stone conspicuously placed on the other side of the path. Dusting myself off, I walked over and examined it. Arrows were scrawled in different directions, and near each arrow was a word. "Arbor" said one, "Tools" another and so on. There was one named "Swing" that appealed most to me, so, with my lunch pail in hand, I trotted in that direction.

To be continued...