Dad’s back yard was his pride and joy. Actually, his whole garden was good reason for him to be proud. I’m referring now to the garden of the prefab house that I associate with my young childhood – age five through eleven years.
There was a concrete walkway that crossed the full width of the back of the house. This was then bordered by a tall trellis fence with an archway set midway. Both the fence and the archway were painted white and were covered by thickly growing rambling roses. The delicate perfume of these roses when they were in bloom floated on the warm summer air.
Three worn red brick steps under the archway of fragrant pink roses led down to a lush green rectangle measuring about twenty yards by fifteen yards. In the springtime bright yellow buttercups dotted here and there in the grass reflected back the sun’s golden rays. Later on in the summer dainty white daisies danced across the carefully trimmed lawn. Sprinkled throughout the grass patches of sweet smelling clover attracted the buzzing bumble bees.
An upward sloping flower bed completely bordered the lawn, and from early spring through late autumn it was a constant changing riot of colors and perfumes. Large plump pincushions of blue and white alyssum grew close to the grass, their musky perfume hanging heavily in the air. Intermingled with the alyssum, yellow and purple Pansies nodded their pretty painted faces, while delicate sprays of deep pink London Pride swayed gently in the breeze behind them.
Jostling for room and vying for attention was a profusion of red, yellow, pink, purple, orange and burgundy dahlias of the single, double, and pom-pom varieties. Pungent smelling French Marigolds and gaily colored Anemones (my mother’s favorite flowers) somehow managed to find some space. Along the top edge of the flower bed stood majestic spikes of pink, blue, and violet Lupines interspersed with tall stems of blossom-laden antirrhinums (we called them “bunny rabbits”).
Beyond the lawn Dad had created an area dedicated to rambling raspberry, currant, and gooseberry bushes as well as some pear and apple trees. To one side of this area cabbage and cauliflower, carrots and celery, potatoes and peas and beans grew, as well as a variety of lettuces and tomatoes. It was always a garden of plentiful bounty.
Coming up the steps from the lawn and going under the archway, I could turn either left or right to get to the vegetable patch. It all depended on how brave I was feeling! To the left was a long line of “dreaded” larkspurs. These tall graceful plants had clusters of vivid deep blue flowers growing all the way up lengthy stems. In the center of each bloom nestled a fuzzy black thing with a bright yellow mark that looked just like a bee!
However, going to the right I passed the rockery which ran the full length of the garden connecting the front and back yards. The rockery was a magical place full of hundreds of small and most unusual plants with minute yellow, white, pink, and blue flowers that clambered over and around a fascinating collection of white crystal, gray and pink marble, and speckled granite rocks. I was sure that faeries, elves and gnomes lived there!
What a wondrous place this garden was, full of color, perfume and adventure. I felt like a queen as I played there and all the flowers were my subjects. How lucky I was to have had a father who dedicated so much time, energy, and love to create and maintain “my kingdom”.
My quiet time in the morning is totally sacred to me. I come out into my screened room with my books of reflective thoughts and I sit with God. This is the most important part of my day. It helps to set the tone of my heart, soul, and mind and prepares me for the day ahead.
When I am in my screened room I am surrounded by nature. There is my garden, which I tend to in the best fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants fashion, with its green grass and beds full of bright nodding flowers. The old WalMart gazebo wrought-iron frame sits over the central flower bed with hanging wind chimes and colorful hummingbird feeders as well as Confederate Jasmine and Trumpet Vine climbing up each corner post. And a statue of Quan (Kuan) Yin, the Buddhist goddess of compassionate loving kindness nestles below at the base of a Magnolia shrub.
The large flower bed to the left is dedicated to many green plants and shrubs. A statue of St. Francis of Assisi peeks out from a widespread clump of tall Mexican Petunias. This bed also holds a beautiful Roserie de l’Hay, a rose bush that carries deep pink, almost purple blooms that my sister gave us because of the family name (Hay). There is also a small lemon tree that my son Marco gifted to us on a visit a few years ago.
The flower bed in the right hand corner of the garden has large prosperous Chinese Privets, a Cassis tree, and a Chaste tree. The highlight of this bed is a concrete circle that I have installed with a small bird bath in the centre. Surrounding the bird bath are many different shallow ceramic, pottery, and glass containers full of stones, crystals and shells from all over the world. Larger stones and small rocks stand freely between the containers. This is my way of bringing the world together in harmony.
Behind the back fence we are blessed with a small pine wood. This is a source of continuous delight for me. It is full of wild life. Squirrels play in the tree tops and we have an abundance of bird life: cardinals, blue jays, mourning doves, blue birds, tit mice, mockingbirds, woodpeckers, kingbirds, wrens, vireos, warblers, sparrows, crows, and hawks. How can I not feel close to God in such surroundings? With such beauty all around me how can I not find inner peace and solace no matter what may be troubling my heart?
And so I come each morning to quiet my body and just sit still, to quiet my mind ridding it of all worldly pressures and stresses, and to quiet my heart and make any burden less important than God’s presence. If I can shake the noise of the world, the better I can hear God’s voice. If I can silence the busyness that the world creates for me then I stand a chance of creating an inner sanctuary where I find rest and restoration.
God is waiting for me to create this space so that He can enter in and bless me. It is In this silence, in this space of peace, that I can enter into intimacy with God and create and grow a wonderful relationship with Him. It is through this relationship that I can then bless all the other relationships in my life.
It has taken me many years to give this gift of quiet time to myself. For those of you who follow my writings you will remember “Sabbath With Georgina”. That is when and where I had my first real taste of “quiet time”. I have often struggled with the “demon voices” that told me “this is a waste of time”, “you need to get on with (whatever)”, “you have nothing to gain and life is passing you by”, “what’s the point? Who’s listening to you?”.
Today I allow nothing and no one to interfere with my precious quiet time. Whatever my first “outside” appointment of the day may be, I allow at least two hours prior to that for me and my God. This is how I feed my soul and develop my spiritual life. This is where I begin the joy that fills my day.