Friday, August 14, 2009

Other People's Gardens

Before I graduated from college, I had a bountiful list formulating in my head of all the things I wanted to do with my life. Things like, travel the world and write an award-winning memoir! Become the next J. K. Rowling! Get an MFA in creative writing! Oddly enough, Live at Home in My Parents Basement was never added to my list of aspirations.

But here I am doing exactly that. My diploma is a year and a half behind me, my school loans are doing a frantic dance in front of my eyes, and yet my junior-high school ivy wallpaper is still singing me to sleep at night. It is not exactly delightful.

On the other hand, there are some perks that come with living at home, one of them being the fact that my mother is a fantastic gardener. She plants delicious vegetables, grows roses and so many other flowers that I couldn’t begin to name them, keeps the grass green, and makes our house look far more amazing than any other house on the street.

Sometimes neighbors stop by our driveway just to say, “Thank you for the beautiful work you do.”

But my favorite part of our garden is the swing. Tucked away under the filbert tree, the swing hangs in a shady, cobweb-ridden, hidden corner of the backyard. Hummingbirds vibrate their way in and out in a few short seconds, squirrels talk to each other from up above and drop discarded nut shells at my feet. A neighbor’s cat lies a few feet away in the shade of the blueberry bushes, watching me.

I do not garden. I’ll admit it. My one attempt at growing wildflowers in a pot failed miserably. But I love, love, love other people’s gardens. I could sit in them all day. And I do.

There is a healing power contained in the swing in my mother’s garden. It comes from the things I can see and hear from that spot; the quiet spiders resting in their patched webs, the way the sun shines on the white roses growing in a perfect circle of brick, even the haphazard growth of the raspberry bushes drooping with berries. The fact that no one can see me back there, staring off into space or writing in a notebook, being healed.

I might not belong forever in my parent’s basement or my childhood bedroom, but I belong in that swing. I belong in someone’s garden. Hopefully it will be my own someday. When my loans are paid……

Jessica Porter, publicity intern

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