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This year, a miracle occurred in my garden. It wasn’t a great year. Let’s just leave it at that. And I decided that my home was my safe haven. So I took crystals from a light fixture that belonged to my childhood room and wired them to the old honeysuckle wood that surrounds the archway beginning my garden path. And I decided that they were protection. That in passing under that crystal be-decked archway, I would be protected, whether I was entering my home, or exiting it. Every time I passed under, I took a deep breath and imagined myself surrounded in a white light that nothing or no one could permeate.
Fall came, and with it, the usual garden death and dormancy. One by one, the last asters and sedum and black-eyed Susans gave way to frost. Then rain, matted it all down, their winter cover. I chose not to put the garden to bed as I usually do, cutting back the stems so that in the spring, the tulips and jonquils have space to send their shoots. I just let the garden blanket itself, knowing that snow would soon come, holding that blanket firm. I’d pull off the plant blanket in the early spring when the snow melted to make way for the bulbs. But each day, as I passed under that arch, the crystals hanging from stark, leafless, bloomless honeysuckle wood…I noticed that there were a few small branches that weren’t yet dormant. Paler green leaves, yes, and limp less-orange blooms…but still thriving. November, December, January, February…they held on in the driving ice and snow of a Montana winter. I couldn’t believe it.
It was as much hopeful as it was stubborn as it was a little scary and sad. I worried about the whole vine, not taking its winter rest. I rely on that archway to be full of lush orange and green welcome all summer long, and I feared that the honeysuckle was somehow trying to martyr itself for me. But there was nothing I could do but just receive this feat of nature as what it needed to be. I wasn’t sure what that was. But I had to let go. I finally resolved that it was a gift. It was promising protection, year long, and it was getting its power from the crystals of my childhood ceiling light– one which I gazed into all my foundational years for comfort. I thanked it every time I passed through. Which meant that I not only felt protection. But I felt gratitude too. Gift after gift. Day after day.
And this summer, in its twenty year long life, I have never seen my garden in such profusion. I let it go. And it took care of itself. And even thrived when it wasn’t supposed to. The lesson in this runs as deep as those honeysuckle roots. Sometimes when we let go, the world holds us just a little closer, a little more bravely, a little more tenderly. And hope abounds.
Please enjoy this slideshow of my garden haven, 2013 by clicking the right arrow after each slide: