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Chapter 3: The Grandfather Grove

February 28th, 2008 No comments

Sitting comfortably on the stone knee wall surrounding the enormous redwoods, you sense a tentative peace emanating from within the trees. You shrug off the heavy backpack and turn to face the grove. A low, comforting voice blows through the branches, swirling around the gigantic trunks and tickles your ears. “Come and rest among us, weary one.” And without further hesitation, you stand and move toward the old trees.

Stories Your senses are filled with the earthy scents of evergreen needles, clean air and rich, damp earth. Squirrels are chasing each other from tree to tree, laughing as one barely outruns the other. Your hands cannot resist an exploratory touch as you pass the massive trunks. One particularly large, old tree captures your attention. You place both hands against its base and can feel the vibrant life within. Looking up, you smile into the canopied sky and close your eyes.

The limb that wraps itself ever so tenderly around your shoulders doesn’t even seem out of place here. “Tell me about your troubles, small one. Let me help you lighten your burdens.” The ancient voice murmurs soulfully. And you find yourself sitting beneath the eighteen hundred year old tree, talking to the spirit within it. Slowly at first, then with words flowing from your mouth like a mountain stream, you share your sadnesses and struggles, your feelings of anger and fear. The grandfather tree spirit listens and understands, it doesn’t scold, question your words or judge your feelings. It absorbs some of the pain and pledges to carry some of the weight. “I cannot bear it all for you, but I will take that which you cannot carry without harm.” And as you lie back against the solidity of the tree, you fall asleep with a smile.

When you awaken there is a shovel next to you, and you know what you must do. Even so, the low, whispering voice in the branches above and the solid earth below surrounds you, “Go and dig a deep hole in the soft earth. Dig deeply, and do not tire. Then take the unneeded burdens from your pack, throw them in and hear them strike bottom. Then fill the hole in well, and tamp the earth down firm.”

You drag the heavy pack from among the trees and find a clear spot of ground that looks soft. The shovel sinks in cleanly and easily. You dig and dig and dig, until the hole is deep enough. You open your pack and take out the most troublesome burdens, throwing them into the depth of the hole, and smile as you hear the “thud” as they hit bottom. Shovels full of dirt cover them quickly as you fill in the hole. Soon there is nothing left but a tiny mound of turned earth, which you pat down first with the shovel and then jump up and down on happily. So relieved are you that you shout with joy, and the grandfather trees chuckle kindly. You spin around gleefully, feeling the relief of having left some of your troubles behind. “Thank you, grandfather trees,” you call out to the grove.

“You are always welcome, and are always loved,” is the whispered, hypnotic response from the branches and needles and cones and craggy bark of the trunks. And the air is alive with peace.

to be continued

Chapter 2: Inside The Magic Garden

December 29th, 2007 No comments

The first thing you notice as you walk through the gate is the lushness, everywhere you turn. The birds are singing, you hear frogs peeping, tiny splashes as goldfish jump for joy in the small pond to the west. You’re captivated by the saturation of color and sound – when out of nowhere five excited white terriers round the turn in the path ahead and welcome you with barks, jumps and kisses. Laddie, Brigit, Bridie, Muffin and Mac all vie for your attention. You give up trying to keep your balance and sit down, letting everyone kiss you at will. Ahhh, there is truly nothing as wonderful as puppy kisses (from a puppy or grown dog, it matters not). You reach into your jacket pocket to find it filled with treats, much to the delight of all the lovable Westies.

Stories “Okay, that’s all,” you tell them as you give a last round of chin and ear scratches. Muffin seems sad to see you stand up out of kissing range so laughing, you give her one last opportunity. The pack scampers off in various directions, satisfied to have greeted you properly, to chase butterflies or find a suitably sunny spot for a nap. You pick up your heavy backpack and look around, trying to decide where to go first.

To the west is the pond, teeming with the chirping birds, frogs and acrobatic fish, surrounded by the greenest grass, trees and flowers. In the east corner is a small patch of cacti and flowering succulents, with a gravel path of tiny tan and brown pebbles which leads northward to a zen-like garden shrine. There are orchids and tropical bromeliads with huge, ancient trees towering over the small, peaceful stupa, and you stare in amazement how such different plants could thrive so close to each other.

The pebble path continues north from the shrine and curves out of sight. Directly in front of you, many yards away, is the Grandfather Grove. It is a dense, ancient collection of towering Giant Redwoods, in the very center of the Garden. There are worn paths that wind between the wonderful, huge trees and the entire grove is surrounded by a raised stone structure just knee high with a wide walking path on top. The invitation to sit and rest or daydream is invisibly written on the stones around the short wall. You cannot look upon the immense trees without your heart smiling. The Grandfather trees smile back at you.

There are paths to and fro and around everywhere, and you can’t begin to decide what to see first. But your pack is so heavy… if only you didn’t have to carry such a burden. You stand bewildered, looking from place to place, and decide to rest at the feet of the welcoming Grandfather trees…

Chapter 1: The Magic Garden – Introduction

October 30th, 2007 No comments

StoriesThe garden was in the middle of a huge field of flowing grasses and wildflowers. You could see it from across the field, but just as your eyes focused on it, the garden wall would fade into the tall grass swaying in the breeze. But there was never any question on how to get there. You just walked and when you were there, you were there.

The grass smells sweet and tickles your legs as you walk through the meadow. And then, as if you were walking down the street and run into an old friend, the garden door appears before you, almost out of nowhere. You stand before the door, looking up at the ancient, weathered wood and hinges black with time. Doors keep things out or in, usually. But this door was different. It smiled – the whole garden wall smiled. Stones which had been in exactly the same place for hundreds of years, maybe more, grew warm and happy and radiant. The garden welcomes you. It is glad to see you. And just as your fingers touch the beautiful wood, it opens – like a heart welcoming a loved one in. You smile too, and enter the magic garden.

Stories

October 30th, 2007 No comments

Stories This will mark the birth of a new blog section: stories. Stories for children, or grown-ups, or those of us who are still in between. Stories in particular, or to start with at least, about a garden. Thanks to Suzanne for helping me to create this beautiful place.

And where you see the lovely blue book icon, you can click to view just the “Stories” entries.