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I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear, Falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am his own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.
– In The Garden by C. Austin Miles (from The Broadman Hymnal)
Gardening is Alone Time.
Especially in the early morning hours as the sun rises in the east and the grass is still wet with dew. You take off your shoes and just let your feet get muddy (instead of your shoes).
Cup of coffee in one hand. Hoe in the other. This hour is my favorite time of day to be in the garden. Silence is truly golden.
And yet, sometimes when you’ve just pulled up a stalk of Johnson grass and stopped to admire the zinnias now starting to bloom in earnest, you are reminded of friends and family no longer with you, and you feel you are not alone, both in the garden and in life.
You carry them with you. These zinnias that are blooming and ready to be cut and shared are a reminder of the person for whom I grow them: My Mom. She loved them. We always had a vase-full on the kitchen table. Like rainstorms and hot weather, they are a fixture of summertime.
My late sister Julia loved zinnias, as well, and probably for the same exact reason that I do: They reminded her of our mother. Julia was also a child of summer. This was her season.
She married and moved away from Hodgenville and became a master Hosta-grower, but one of her favorite things to do was to return home, drink a glass of iced tea on the back porch and eat pimento cheese on pumpernickel.
These are two of the people I carry with me to the garden, and even though I don’t feel them with me every day, I do feel them in certain moments and am reminded to slow down, to give thanks and to enjoy the simple pleasure of a morning well-spent … in the garden.
More later from Groundhog Hill.