I want to be a meadow garden

by Elouise


Meadow Garden at Longwood

It wasn’t an evening sky that started it. It was waking up in the morning, thinking about a wonderful conversation we had recently with a friend from our seminary days.

I teared up a bit, thinking about how much had changed since the 1970s, how much we’ve all been through and grown as a result.

I lay in bed thinking about all this and began singing two hymns, all verses I could remember. Oh God, Our Help in Ages Pasts, followed by Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven. The tears wouldn’t stop.

Why these tears? Why now? Yes, I knew the trigger, but why this trigger at this time?

I think it’s because I’m about to start writing in a more focused way about marriage. In some ways, marriage has been the most disruptive thing that has ever happened to me. Not because I wasn’t ready. Who is? But because of what I’ve learned about life and about myself.

I got up and ate breakfast. Then told my husband I wanted to go to Longwood Gardens. We’d been planning to go later in the week. But it was going to be rainy. And I just needed to get away.

So we went. On a whim I decided to look at the inner pipes of the organ console sitting out in main ballroom. I found out there was a short program coming up. We sat on the front row.

The tears began again as I listened to the opening number. They streamed down my face. Memories, things I might have done differently, roads not taken.

Back home the tears returned as I washed dishes and listened to a haunting Mozart clarinet concerto. Then they came back in the evening, as I wrote in my journal–and came to this:

Is there something to be said
for wild, lightly cultivated gardens—like meadows?
Not showcases of stunning flowers and cultivated flower walks,
But life-giving, naked, raw beauty—
able to withstand harsh weather with grace—
Welcoming visitors of all kinds.

I want to be a meadow garden
With paths for thoughtful feet
Space for tears and laughter
Occasional butterflies and birds,
Spiders, moths, and ‘lesser’ life forms.

Perhaps the wildness of my internal life
Wants to be honored, named and lightly cultivated?
Recovery isn’t about taming life.
It’s about reclaiming it—
The semi-wild meadow
that hears and sees music 24/7.
That’s what I want to be. Living life
naked, lightly cultivated and beautiful.

* * *

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 25 March 2015
Photo credit, DAFraser, August 2014
Meadow Garden at Longwood