Water Garden


If we had keen vision of all that is ordinary in human life,

it would be like hearing the grass grow or the squirrel’s heartbeat,

and we should die of that roar

which is the other side of silence.

George Eliot


Water moves always and with it brings life. The water tumbling down the hillside gurgles and runs over rocks, through channels, around and over stones washing minerals from the soil. At the foot of the hill, it slows and deposits some of that content and the tree roots, shrubs, and flowers drink their fill.

The cypress trees love the pond and grow all around its edges. They send up roots called cypress knees –roots gasping for air. Ducks glide across the glassy surface or waddle along the banks searching for bugs to eat through the grasses and around the pond, but never far. An elderly couple delight in feeding the ducks and geese from a bag of bread pieces just beside the sign that reads, “Please don’t feed our waterfowl.”

The ducks lay eggs in grassy hollows along the water’s rim and hunt for bugs and minnows beneath the water plants. They plan to raise their ducklings and goslings right here where there is plenty of water and free food. Nevermind the children who chase them with glee and the odd rations. There are no coyotes or foxes here.

In spring buses bring folks to see the first stirrings of the year, to cheer themselves with tulips and dogwood, redbud, and magnolia.

In the summer flowers bloom and children run and play in the shady park.  Sprinklers move the water and keep things green in the heat.

In the autumn the water flows to give drinks to thirsty roses, zinnias, and chrysanthemums. The leaves turn color and begin to dry in the wind and fall to the ground where they carpet the ground  with brown and float like late boats on the pond.

In winter cars loads of grandmas and children drive slowly through the park to see the Christmas lights and listen to carols while sucking on striped candy canes. In the pond’s center is a great white swan lit up and as big as a Buick. She gleams and glows in majestic glory.


Dogwood Gardens

“If you have not heard the trees of the field clap their hands, do not think it is because they don’t.”

McClandish Phillips

Walking in the gardens this week, I was thrilled to see the dogwoods blooming like mad . They are the prettiest things. The joy of them feeds your soul like food feeds the belly.

The crabapples are still blooming, a tinge here and there of redbud, and some of the dogwood is pink for a contrast of color on the white. Yet if you look close you will see pink on the outer edge of each of the four white petals.

Because it blooms at Eastertime many say it represents the cross with a drop of blood on each pure petal and in the center a crown of thorns. The pink trees are unusual, but I do prefer the white dogwood. It seems more natural.

In the quiet of the garden, where the only sounds are rustling of wind in the treetops and the gurgle of water in the pools and streams, along with the voices of birds singing, I can rest my mind and restore my soul, drink in the scene and then turn it into new pictures for my mind to hold.

I don”t suppose a person could ever fill up every memory spot in the brain with such sights. What I can’t remember with my brain, I try to remember with my camera.

When my elderly mother spent whole days lying quietly alone in her bed we asked her “Aren’t you lonesome, Mama?” and she replied, “No, I have my memories.”

Quiet Evening

An evening on the porch at the close of a summer day brings stillness and country-style quiet. There is no noise of trains or traffic, no sirens, or horns honking.

I sit and listen. The wind has laid in the treetops, but I can hear the water running in the ditches toward the creek below the house. I hear a coyote howl and whimper and whine. My dogs have been sleeping in the shade. They sit up and look toward the sound and deciding its not worth their effort they lie back down.

My windchimes sometimes clang and ring and clatter until I have to take them down on windy days. Tonight they hang and sometimes move, but not enough to make a sound. Birds are settling and I hear someone far off hammering. Must be almost finished repairing a shed or a fence.

Sun slants weakly from the west and  with no color but a thin weak gold, begins to set.

The  night comes slowly across the way. I hear an owl hoot from the huge trees along the creek, a tractor motor rumbles, a dog barks, just once.

It reminds of a long ago day when I am sitting in a field playing with milk weed pods, opening them and pulling the fibers with their little seeds from inside. I hold a few up to the breeze and blow them off with a wish. I hear a dog bark, a screen door bang shut, and realize I should be home. Up and across the field I run and a sense of fear stays behind in the grass.

Home holds no fear, no worry, no care. Home is safe and welcome and Mama is there setting food on the table. The lights are on in the kitchen and though it seemed still light outside now it looks dark. Dad drives up. I hear his car come crunching up the gravel drive. Little brother runs to greet him. Home. We are all home.