Happily Gardening

 

Prompted by a sign I’ve dragged around with me and which now sits askew, dusty, and seemingly out-of-place by our front porch, Wyatt asked “What garden?”  I had a garden once upon a time; designed by me, built with the help of my good friend Brad, and nurtured by the dreams of seeing my children grow, get married, and bring me grandchildren.  Sometimes seeds bloom and fade.  Then we discover the garden we need.

Set on a rolling lot with excellent sun exposure, mature trees, and volcanic earth, my garden was destined to grow successfully!  It began quietly in the front yard digging with Karen in the rain.  She was 15 months old and a gardener at heart from the start!  We removed shrubs struggling to survive without adequate space or light.  Next soil was mounded and rocks were placed to create a life size fairy garden.  21

The pond by the deck happened by accident.  Fritz was lost to seizures.  I could not fathom placing my much loved feline anywhere but under the lilac tree he loved so much.  So the addition of a pond surrounded by a frenzy of daylilies hosted his resting spot.  I relished the sound of water so much that we added a rolling waterfall and multiple ponds at the back of the yard.  Taylor helped me choose goldfish and then find the perfect fountainhead.  The spitting frog had to have just enough action to keep mosquitoes at bay but be gentle enough for small birds to bathe.

Rachel loved to recline in the yard or around the pool surrounded by friends and acquaintances.  She found joy in selecting some of the many statues for the garden.  They follow me still.  Rachel is not a gardener of the land but her heart enjoys the architecture, the flowers and the wildlife like Rocky the racoon; a year round resident of our sanctuary.

Despite the love and time devoted to building a place for my family it was not to remain.  As it is for so many of us… life presents transitions.  Transitions moving us literally, emotionally, figuratively.

I have a different garden now.  It is small, dusty and slightly askew… reminiscent of our welcoming marker.  The joy and overwhelming love in my humble little plot is so much more than I ever expected to sow.  The butterflies alight on milkweed, bees dance about the sweet peas, and there is the beauty of green all about!  I must admit that the mottled jade hues are achieved with the arrival of tenacious seeds blown in by the wind.  However they arrive, the resulting ground cover is admired for its strength and relentless nature to survive.  So we indulge their will.  Planters are overflowing with the common petunia, beautiful in their wildness and filling our days with their sweet scents.  Accompanying the riotous pink and white posies are pinwheels emblazoned with red maple leaves reminding us of our childhood and that our children are close to heart.

Alongside the house sits a cedar chest.  It once kept dress-up dreams for my tots.  Masks, hats, magnificent dresses, and sparkling shoes were held there for those magical and fantastical days when tales came to life.  Today it holds soccer balls, volleyballs, diggers, dinosaurs, and a spiderman mask.  The rain falls upon the planks and the spiders find homes within the trunk.  This vessel is another item I have managed to drag about as we moved through life’s metamorphosis.  A symbol of dreams and fantasies come true in our dishevelled backyard.

My good friend Bonnie gave me design advice many years ago: group items in 3’s, it’s more visually appealing!  I have kept that in mind and I sometimes follow her counsel.  It appears, as I scan the yard, that I’ve taken the advice more often than I thought!  Three Obelisks which now house tomato plants are the centre of a vegetable garden ravaged daily by our hounds.  Each planter holds three varieties of plants or three colours.  A wrought iron planter is framed by St. Francis and the frog pot my mother presented me with several years ago.  Three angels can be found protecting our home and three candle holders light the evening gently.

Beside the traditional BBQ lay two sheets of plywood.  They are my amazing hubby’s weed management tool of choice.  They are also a canvas for grandchildren armed with sidewalk chalk and a roadway for diggers being chased by dinosaurs!  Atop and placed carefully (no one would know this but us) are two chairs others might remit to the landfill. One is a reminder of our wedding and the love we share.  The other is a ripped, faded, and generally useless seat to all but our youngest grandchildren.  It remains as a reminder of a daughter’s love on a Father’s Day past.

Wyatt I want you to know that gardens come in all sizes, styles, and temperments.  They may be works of art or they may be happy accidents.  Choose the style which makes you happy, fills your heart, and satisfies your thirst with peace.  Find ways to enrich the lives of the lowly and the small; the intrepid travelers on earth who hide in the dirt.  Plant beautiful things and let those untiring seeds of desire blowing on the wind guide you, protect you, and create a cover over the sharp-edged stones which you will undoubtedly encounter.  And when you see a sign welcoming you to a garden remember to look beyond the expected and contemplate what it is that has been planted.

Welcome to our garden…

© Michelle Redman and mredmanwrites, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michelle Redman and mredmanwrites https://mredmanwrites.wordpress.com/

 

Gratitude in the shadows

tears caress my jaw

thoughts of you

wander

through my dreams

wakeful

real

public

reflective

waves gently push

lap at my heart

you

made this moment

present

you

step away

push softly

entreat a response

spy a dream

perceive clarity

pass glasses

so I might too

see

© Michelle Redman and mredmanwrites, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michelle Redman and mredmanwrites https://mredmanwrites.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/gratitude-in-the-shadows/ 

Whispers

his whispers stand on beauty pushing aside caustic burns

her reflection brightens the mirror casting aside the shadows pushing in

they blend beating. growing

© Michelle Redman and mredmanwrites, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michelle Redman and mredmanwrites https://mredmanwrites.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/whispers/

Happy Mom’s Day!

As I woke this morning, feeling pretty blessed, I thought of the moments motherhood has wrought.  Those fleeting memories which rise and cast their shadow in our life, draw tears from our eyes, cast doubt on our confidence, mold our hearts and overflow our being with pride.

I am a mother.

I am mother to a lost child, loved yet unseen and unknown.  Seven months in my womb and lost without dreams achieved, breathe drawn, loving arms encircled.

I am mother to a son.  A son whose very being is kind, patient and loving.  A son who is the best kind of father.  The father who chose… chose to be a father to children not his own.  Chose to change diapers, lift waving hands, drop all and run to the call ‘Daddy!’

I am mother to a daughter.  A daughter filled with love, loudness, bravery.  A daughter venturing, exploring, testing grounds.  A daughter who screams, curses, and loves in the same breath.

I am mother to a daughter.  A quiet, private, nice daughter.  A daughter for whom nice is overused, under-rated, but intensely good.  Ever bright, ever happy, ever kind…ever nice.

I am mother of a step-sort to three daughters, two sons.  Love arrives in different bundles.  Some late, some grown, some distant, some glowing.  But it arrives.  It’s a strange role; step-sort to grown children.  A difficult step to take and find welcome.  Each foothold I celebrate and enjoy!

I am a grandmother by proxy.  Seven grandchildren in two years!  Each a different soul, a different life, a glowworm in my being.  I am indeed blessed.  Screams of ‘Nanny!’, calls for ‘Michelle!’, and the quiet, hidden, secreted pull of ‘Grandma’ from a grandson who whispers in my ear and yearns to call me Grandma for all to hear, but is afraid it will hurt the other grandmas.  After all I’m a step-sort.  But in my heart, I’m a Grandmother and I love my grandchildren.

I am a mother.

© Michelle Redman and mredmanwrites, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michelle Redman and mredmanwrites https://wordpress.com/post/87298231/41/

Reading Memories,

A Fleeting History of Reading Memories

Reading has been a collaborative effort since early childhood, a process which involved all family members, both immediate and extended.  Books were valued, cherished, revered and kept always at hand.  It was with a sense of calm confidence that my grandparents, parents and uncles referred to the inevitability of my elevation to enlightened reader.  I knew early on that reading was important.  Reading was a way to convey thoughts, ideas, and feelings. 

My relatives read to me often with great emotion, often laughing or crying out… in tune with the literature as we became joined in an eloquent journey.  My grandmother emphasized the engagement with literature, the importance of a sensory involvement.  Thus began my long and winding trail of worlds real, imagined or otherwise created in my head by another’s words. 

The introduction to reading in a traditional education setting was filled with Dick and Jane and their incessant dog…. Ahhhh the boredom!  But I did appreciate the illustrations.  The bright scarlet skirt Jane always seemed to don, the blue which I can still see flashing across the page as Dick ran – where to?  I don’t know. 

It wasn’t until grade 3 and Mrs. Wagga that someone realized I could read beyond the Basal Readers littering the classroom and suddenly the boredom drifted away in the sea of books I was encouraged to explore, review, and share!  Thank goodness for a teacher open to individualized programming, critical literacy and a whole language process which opened my literary world beyond the phonetic readers which confined, limited, and numbed my mind.

© Michelle Redman and mredmanwrites, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michelle Redman and mredmanwrites https://wordpress.com/post/87298231/new