“The great lesson… is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s back yard.” ~Abraham Maslow~
Maslow’s words are so simple and to the point; however, the thought is so eloquent. His carefully chosen words seem to sum up my very thoughts, on this somewhat ordinary day.
While sitting on my patio this morning, drinking my coffee and taking in the sights and sounds of the lovely spring day, I reflected on the ordinary objects of nature and the extraordinary memories that they conjured up. Allow me to share with you some of the most treasured components of my Secret Garden ~
Blossoming Cherry Tree – This tree was planted by my husband and myself shortly after moving into our home. It is now almost 20 years old, and like any normal marriage, along with the gnarly twists and turns of its supporting roots, it continues to bloom!
Dogwood Tree – This was planted in memory of Granny, and has served as a constant reminder of her strength and beauty. This past Christmas, “Lady Dogwood” was adorned with white sparkly Christmas lights, and she has been wearing them ever since. She is truly the most beautiful object of peace, within my Secret Garden.
Azaleas – We have a variety of pink, red and white. Some bloom in mid-spring and others hold out for the summer. Luckily, there is always an Azalea in bloom during the warm months. These Azaleas remind me of Grandpa and the trips that he would take to North Carolina to visit his college roommate from his Notre Dame years. Gramps would take loads of pictures of all the many Dogwoods and Azaleas, and then make us sit through many many slides of nothing but landscape. As a child… bored beyond belief; as an adult… now I get it ~ absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!
Knockout Rosebushes – One deep pink and one yellow. It’s a real treat to have roses in the house on any given day, but I really enjoy them best in the backyard. There’s something so satisfying about pruning them back in late February; really giving them a haircut, so to speak, and watching them just take off throughout the summer.
Freida’s Birdbath – This is the main focal point of the garden; everything surrounding it offers such beauty, but when there is a happy little creature enjoying a dip and a splash, all of nature comes that much more alive. This fixture was in my mother-in-law’s garden for many years. My husband can remember being with her when she finally found the perfect one ~ a fond memory of his!
Miscellaneous beauties – These would be ordinary plants that we place in our garden for various reasons. Maybe they are a favorite of a relative, a favorite of ours, or just something new that we want to try. And then there are the stepping stones that our daughters made years ago, while they were visiting their aunt~ a perfect touch!
Angels – Now for the angels; I love them! I truly believe in angels, and know that I have my fair share of guardians. Along with the ones that keep me on the straight and narrow, I have several small statues of angels in my garden; one being a peaceful thinker, one looking as though she is plotting a prank, and one taking a nap. All very reflective of my personality, on any given day.
Having brought up the angels, I must mention the ones that I see beyond my garden, from where I sit. While sitting on my patio I can look directly in front of me, past my garden, and see the home of two very dear friends and their newborn. Have you ever met neighbors and had the feeling that you had known them forever – an instant connection, if you will? She’s from the Midwest and so am I, so maybe that has something to do with it, but they are the greatest! It doesn’t hurt that she can bake like a professional, and likes to share her experiments with us!
Directly to my right, another angel here on Earth. She became a neighbor about 18 years ago, but has felt like family from the get go. “E” is a nurse, and might I add that her profession is extremely lucky to have her. She has been there for our family on numerous occasions as a nurse, but always there as a friend. We’ve watched each other’s children grow up, and now I know her grand-daughters; suffice it to say, it feels like family!
To my left, a woman of great strength and kindness. I had just given birth to our youngest, and we were sent home from the hospital to a hurricane-hit neighborhood. Do you recall Fran? Well, the neighborhood was a mess, but thankfully we were not hit as bad as some surrounding areas. Folks were concerned with their yards, fallen trees, water damage, etc. and this woman and her family found the time to walk over, meet my youngest and present her with the softest baby blanket that I have ever touched. One detail that I left out… we had NOT even met this family, yet! This was one of the kindest gestures that I had ever experienced, and I can honestly say – one that I will never forget.
So, if the “sacred is in the ordinary”, pause and believe that this day, this life…it’s yours. Revere the ordinary in your everyday, and count it as one of your extraordinary blessings.
For me, it’s as simple as walking into my back yard.