Peace is here and in every season
a quiet beauty.
Excerpt from For Jim – Easter Eve by Anne Spencer
Peace in the garden is quite special. Peace among a group of people is an amazing thing. Who knew that most gardeners are believers in peace, love and happiness. Every time I attend an event pertaining to gardening, I am carrying the spirit of Anne Spencer on my shoulders. It was Anne Spencer who wrote about and found peace in her Virginia garden.
Anne Spencer, an African American Woman, a recognized poet of the Harlem Renaissance, didn’t start school until she was 11 years old, only to become quite the voice of her time. Anne Spencer also had a bodacious garden in Lynchburg, Virginia that was the place to pause or spend the night for many African Americans of note, who traveled but could not stay at certain establishments. The organizer of the Lynchburg NAACP in 1918, Anne was very much aware of what was going on around her but chose to write of peace, love, and happiness.
As an African American woman who gardens, I can’t help but wonder how Anne Spencer started gardening. Was it when she sat to write on those pieces of paper, which have been lost over time? Perhaps gardening was a welcome distraction. Finding the mental seeds to create a literary garden in her mind, ready to plant on paper. Was it to get outside, allowing nature to help her curate a personal place of peace? I will never know the true answer to the question of why Anne Spencer gardened. I do understand why her garden is just a meaningful as her words ad more important than ever.
Peace in the garden is often a sacred thought. When I immerse myself in the garden, I find the words that often escape me when inside. The evening air gently gliding over my shoulders, the stars illuminating my keyboard..the words come as I am surrounded by peace. Imagining Anne Spencer with her slips of paper, pencil in hand, the moon guiding her words as she sits in her garden writing thoughts of peace, love, and happiness.
I must visit Anne Spencer’s Garden. Paying homage to this African American woman who was more than a poet, she was a gardener. Thank you to the Spencer family for finding partners to help preserve such an important structure and garden. Anne Spencer’s garden lives on in her memory.by