Memories of my Grandma with a song on her heart have been with me all week. There are memories everywhere in my garden. Each spring, as the earth gives way to plants coming to life, I think back to my childhood. This is the week that I would rather have been outside in the garden. Lying motionless, head to the ground, quietly waiting for a worm to cross my path. Pursing my lips, gently attempting to blow it over, the worms became quite started. Wriggling quickly for cover, this game would have gone on for hours. Instead, Mom would call me indoors to rehearse my lines for the Easter program at Church.
We could walk to Grandma’s house on Capitol Hill after Church. With the smaller yards along the way, enjoying the diversity found in each garden was exciting. I wanted to linger at each and every yard we passed. My Grandpa insisted I keep up, so I did. However, the memories of the colors and textures lingered on my mind. Grandpa knew my parents would be waiting at the house. My parents were very protective of us and we were barely out of their reach.
Easter Sunday there was usually a colorful Hydrangea in the windowsill at the house on 7th Street where they lived. Memories of the purples, pinks, and muted tones of these small shrubs, added a bright spot to the dimly lit living room. It was something I looked forward to every year. I often wondered what she did with them afterwards. Now I will never know.
This week, I marveled at my garden. As I walked past the Camellia’s with their bright red blooms, I heard a familiar voice. She sang in the church choir and rehearsing prior to an event was important. The song, “He Lives”, an old spiritual was a part of every Easter Sunday Service. I imagined Grandma was walking beside me, as I created my daily memory of the garden in the morning. As we strolled, arms locked together, her voice was quite clear and very real.
At a moment when I had no time to spare, the magic found in my garden stopped me in my tracks. On another evening this week, I was caught off guard by a flash of color. My Dad had a white suit that he traditionally wore on Easter Sunday when he had to preach. The fabric was textured, not pin-cord or seersucker, but almost ridge-like. The ruffled, ridged petals of a peony made me freeze.
It was at that moment I heard the booming but mellow voice of my Dad, breaking into song, his song. “Blessed Assurance” was a song that Dad sang or hummed when he was feeling downright blessed. This white, bigger than life, crinkled petal peony – which should not be blooming right now – came to life before my eyes. It was as if the deeply colored center was a microphone and Dad’s voice filled the air around me. I was emotionally full. Grandma never saw my garden. Dad had the pleasure of seeing it and walking through it quite a few times….even now, in spirit. The memories, beautiful memories fill my soul.
I believe in my ancestral connections. The memories my Dad shared with me about North Carolina and gardening with his grandparents are etched in my mind. In my heart, I believe my ancestors are lifting me up and providing strength as I continue my garden writing journey. The awareness I have of their presence is so real.
Do you have memories of your ancestors when in the garden? There is magic in every garden…but you must be present to feel it, accept it, and allow it to bring you joy.
I am going to be sitting here waiting for the next memorable moment of magic with my kinfolk in my garden.by