English Garden

English Garden

This garden has grown wild. The lawn has surrendered to itself and is sprouting the plump and perfect leaves of barbarian invaders. The lavender is as tall and stately as it ever was, growing beside something thorny which prickles your calves pointedly whenever you walk past; Lady Lavender and her rugged libertine of a lover. The foxgloves are the Sunday hats of the elves, made by the best of tailors, and nestled on the hatstands of their stems. They deserve a place in a children's fairytale, or a murder mystery. Something about them could go either way. There are bright red bushes intruding on the pathway, and ragged yellow flowers which beckon flirtatiously to the Cabbage White Butterflies, so at any given moment they are all of a flutter above it. Each hoping to be noticed.

From where I sit, I am shielded from inquisitive eyes by the husky embrace of the smoke bush. I wear the proper names of my present company like a charm bracelet. Close by, there is a small cricket balancing steadily on a fern. He has tucked himself up neatly and he is singing. Or what passes for singing when you are small and unable to change key. Occasionally he pauses, presumably to hear if there might yet be any applause for his latest aria. When there isn't, he begins again. Determined this time to offer something notable. Unaware that he is already impossible to forget.

Everything is so alive. Life on wings. Life scurrying below me on the stepping stones or through the small forests of green. Life resting on the branches of the tree that came from nowhere and never should have grown. My tree. The one which stretches further and further up towards the heavens because it can, and spreads its arms out as wide as it knows how, to gather the passing clouds; Like a mother gathering her children close to her, in time for a bedtime story. It is beautiful that any living thing can grow so much in the space of one short season.

I realise I have grown too, and perhaps even more so. I have blossomed and wondered and found sunlight in unexpected places. I have extended myself in new ways, and my roots have found their resting place in better ground. I am nourished by good people and lit well with laughter. I am not the seedling I once was, unable to flourish and determined to do so, but I am not yet half of what I am going to be.

The sun goes in, suddenly. The gold light floods out of the day. It is left with a soft greyness, as though it is looking through faded photo albums, at old pictures of itself already, and this is what it sees. 

My neighbour starts to cook. Smoke signals issuing from his barbecue, and up over the fence. I read them. Apparently, he needs a beer and someone to listen to him more often. I can hear faraway sirens and the unexpected silence of the bees.

There is a pause. Nature adapts itself, and then the sun beams again. It sees the good joke of the world and smiles. The bees resume buzzing, as though they are cheering its return. I picture them doing little loop the loops when no one is looking, and pretending they are aeroplanes.

My heart is cheering too. I look down. I have the most impressive freckle on my right thigh. I think I shall keep it. Now I'm counting chimneypots and daydreams. For the second of those I am running out of numbers. I shield my eyes from the glory of the fire star. I am alive and revelling in it. 

I have so much. There is enough that hurts me too, but I am here. I am giving and I have been given. 

This garden has grown wild, and so have I.

I smile at the sky, dressed in its pretty robes of periwinkle, and I know that this moment is all that anyone could wish for.
 

Red Flags

Red Flags

The Almost Affair

The Almost Affair