Some years back, after an especially stressful day, I decided to create a Zen garden. By Zen garden, I simply mean that I wanted to create an area that would bring about thoughts of peace and tranquility. I had a basic plan in my mind. The area would be sectioned off by a small garden fence and there would be some flowers, such as stock, baby carnations, and roses that would fill the area with a spicy comforting scent. Stock and baby carnations both carry a heavy cinnamon/nutmeg scent, as do certain types of roses. I decided to make the center of the garden the focal point, by planting a Japanese maple tree. I found one that transitions from a deep crimson red in spring, to a bright copper color in autumn. That tree gives me the feeling of autumn all year long. And it has a name.
I call him Paul. After the man who owned the cottage we live in.
When we first moved in here, 12 years ago, it was under some extremely stressful circumstances. Alan and I were tired and a little shell shocked from life and all the fun curves it can throw you. We had seen some places, but frankly, from the minute Alan and I saw the cottage, we knew we had found our home. I don't own the cottage, we are merely renters, but it feels like it was waiting for us somehow.
Paul was happy to rent to us, and in his time as our landlord/owner of the property, he stayed on top of things until just a couple months before his passing in 2009. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2005, and in the fours years after it had turned into 5 different kinds of cancer that slowly and painfully ravaged his body. I remember one of our last conversations, he called to be sure we were all set and didn't need any repairs. He always ended his conversations with me... "Thank you dear." Like I was his daughter. He was a special man.
So with Paul the tree in the center, I have planted a nice variety of fragrant, long blooming, beautiful roses. It is a pleasant place to sit, and watch the leaves turn, and see the different native birds to the area build their nests, and the butterflies and dragonflies bounce about, and occasionally, there might be a neighborhood cat or two who will come by and rest for a while among the flowers. I know my Elvis would have loved this place, he was always crazy about scents of all kinds. He taught me about stopping to smell the roses. It's true. I have a rose in the garden that I know he would have loved for its especially spicy scent.
There is a special rose in the garden for each of the friends and those I have loved who are no longer on earth. And when I spend time caring for them, or appreciating them, I feel especially close to those who have moved on.
Sometimes I still hear the ethereal musician off somewhere in the hills playing his music on his saxophone. After all these years, we still can't tell where the music is coming from, but I have giving up caring about that, I am instead just happy that as much things change, at least that is still a part of my day to day life... hearing whatever song the mysterious saxophone player wants to share. Its just all a part of my life... living here... in a small cottage in the East Bay hills.
About a year ago, the property was sold to new owners, and there is the possibility that I may have to move. It breaks my heart, but sometimes life pushes you through new doors. It's just the way it is. If I hadn't been pushed through a new door in 2001, I wouldn't be sharing about my garden in this post. But I am not going to fret about the future, right now, I am home, and all is well.
"Earth is so kind, that just tickle her with a hoe, and she laughs with a harvest."
~Douglas William Jerrold
Now that you have visited my blog, be sure to visit all the participants of the RRC! Just clink the link at the top of the post to be redirected to the official Round Robin Blog. That's where you will find the links and all the information you need to play along!
And also pay a visit to my friend JR. He has been a loyal participant in my A Photo A Day For 6 Months project, and he is an awesome photographer! If you haven't had the chance to pay him a visit, you should! He's fun!