Susan P. Blevins was born in England, lived 26 years in Italy, and has now resided in the USA for the past 23 years, first in Taos, NM, and currently in Houston, TX. While living in Rome she had a weekly column in an international, English-language newspaper, writing about food and restaurant reviews primarily, though not exclusively. Since living in the USA she has written pieces on gardens and gardening for N. American and European publications, and she is now writing stories of her life and travels, and gaining traction in various literary publications. She loves reading, writing, playing the piano, classical music, cats and stimulating conversation.
MY OLD GARDEN by Susan P. Blevins
I have not seen my garden since I sold my house five years ago. How has it fared? How are the trees and shrubs managing without my loving attention to sustain them?
The big black gate to my old property is ajar as I drive by. It is spring, and the woman who bought my house lives in Florida in the winter, and comes to Taos only in the summer. I doubt she is in residence yet. I cannot see my garden, just the treetops peeping tantalizingly over the high wall I built to enclose the paradise I had created. The temptation is too great. I park the car on the verge of the dirt road and saunter over to the gate.
I slip inside with wildly beating heart and let my eyes take in the bleak scene laid out before me:
beds empty of flowers, shrubs more dead than alive, weeds everywhere, my favorite tree a dead relic of happy times, and stagnant water filling the features that used to flow and gurgle boisterously with clean, bright water.
Tears well up and flow down my cheeks as I survey the desolation, neglect, and abuse. The new owner has dogs and they have made the garden their own. Their arrogant shit lies all over the yawning, empty vegetable beds, where once abundance reigned.
Dead also the fairies and the devas, or perhaps just departed for greener gardens? I wallow in the feeling of death all around me, outer and inner, in this place that I once loved and cherished, the palette of my creative expression. Self pity and sorrow play out a while as I wander in the alien landscape like a soul freshly dead finding itself in purgatory.
But it is spring, the snow has melted, and life itself cannot be killed, just as God cannot be killed. On looking more closely, I spy tender spears of dusty green piercing the hard earth: the first snowdrops, heralding the coming triumphant army of dauntless daffodils and narcissus, followed by rainbow array of tulips.
My heart stills, and I breath deep, knowing that despite all, life continues and thrives beneath the surface of abandon. Beauty will follow, and my valiant plants will continue to give unceasingly of themselves, to feed the souls of all who venture into their orbit.
My inner sight sees my former self as a shadow of light, moving, touching, blessing each and every growing thing, reassuring them that all is not lost. The fairies and devas return and work their magic. Life returns.
After such prayerful meditation and full spectrum of emotions, I slip out of the gate, peaceful and philosophical. I’ve always heard it’s a bad idea to go back to places, and this experience confirms it, though it was not a wasted visit. I have left my ongoing blessing to nurture the denizens of this little corner of paradise, not lost, but found, and I have also witnessed the indomitability of life and made it my own.