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Today’s Garden Twenty: The Consolation of a Garden

Today’s weather was a light drizzle, bright but overcast. I spent my “garden 20” walking around the drowsy beds in my Sunday-go-to-meeting suit, risking mud on my dress shoes. I just returned from a funeral for a friend of mine who took his own life last weekend. The tight curls of rhubarb are cresting through the surface. Snowdrops are flowering everywhere and nearby the first tentative spears of other bulbs are piercing the surface. I wish I could say that sense of new life provides some definitive answer to the strange ache I am carrying. I know my friend was in chronic pain and had been for several years. I don’t think there was any hope of a medical relief possible. He must have “done the math” and seen it was time to go. I can’t help but think he made a mistake in his calculations, though. That can’t be the right answer.

Why do we send flowers to funerals? Is there something about the transient glory of a bloom that reminds us to treasure life as a passing wonder and not to fixate too deeply on its departure? I never much cared for funeral arrangements–I thought they were waste of money, frankly, though my sister in law’s a florist. Don’t tell her I said that!– But standing in the garden today, thinking about my friend, I’m not so certain anymore. Maybe flowers ARE the most apt gift at that moment.

Plenty of tasks out here for me await my toil. The wind has pushed the leaf mulch off the beds. Rain falling from the barn roof has eroded away a small trench. Jan bought trilium bulbs that need to be buried. But honestly, I’m glad it’s too cold and wet to work. I needed to spend my minutes today just looking, just observing.

Posted in • Sitting Still.

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