Letters and Diary Non-Fiction posted April 25, 2015

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short essay

My Redemption Garden

by michaelcahill


From a tiny sapling, a majestic elm grows. As an artist, a garden provides an endless vision of poetry. All of life's struggles can be found within. There are tribulations and triumphs aplenty, all cajoling the poet to observe and reveal.
My garden is a strange one. I don't buy already blooming flowers or trees well rooted and ready to dazzle. A real garden must be grown for it to have a story to tell. It isn't the result that reveals the metaphors; it is the road to the result.
You won't find anything in my garden without a story behind it. The elm tree in the middle was found as a tiny sapling in a barren dirt field. The roots of the elm extend sometimes for miles. I wasn't sure where the little sapling came from. There were no elm trees nearby. I imagined a garden far away, maybe even a neglected garden causing the forlorn elm to seek escape. I envision its roots like long searching fingers, seeking an adventure. This little sapling probably had no idea the predicament in which it had sprouted.
As it peeked through the final layer of soil and caught its first glimpse of its new home, what must it have thought? It saw weeds and dry desolate dirt in every direction. Was this to be its destiny, to grow unnoticed in an abandoned and uncared for field? It grew, sympathetic to the weeds that surrounded it. Indeed, they were no different then it.
Understanding its plight, I took my little trowel and dug it up. Its roots were now severed from its parent and any connection forever broken. Its fate was in my hands. I took it home and found a spot in the very middle of my garden. I planted it and made a small moat around it anticipating growth. The shock of transplant put it in a precarious position. Wilting foreshadowed a possible early demise.
My friends and family thought me foolish to water it. "It's just a stick in the ground. You can't grow a tree from a stick."
Well, I knew there was more than a stick there. There were small roots too, trying their best to find nourishment. I had faith in those roots and vowed to help in any way I could. Slowly, a small branch grew and then a couple leaves to decorate it. I knew it would make it and it did.
People enjoy the beautiful elm in the center of my garden. If they only knew the whole story as I do, imagine how much more reverence they would have for it.
Every flower and plant in my garden was once abandoned and rescued by me. I dig up bulbs from abandoned yards and take clippings from overgrown ground coverings. I go by the local nursery and raid their trash for unsellable merchandise.
All of these various plants and flowers find a home and the best care in my garden. My garden looks sad sometimes with all of the orphan plants struggling to grow, but many of them recover and reward me with beauty. There's no pattern or plan to how it's laid out. A landscaper would no doubt cringe to see it. But, they don't know the stories. They don't know that my gorgeous bougainvillea once sat in a trash can waiting to be thrown away. They don't know that my long border of amaryllis once sat in dry, unwatered ground, days away from a bulldozer's teeth making way for new construction.
I often sit in the rusty swing hanging on the old elm tree and observe my garden. Every plant in it has proven that with a little help great beauty can grow from the most meager of beginnings.
I have the most beautiful garden in the world!



The picture, compliments of Bing Images, is an elm sapling. They can sprout up almost anywhere due to the incredibly long roots from the parent tree.

A thank you to Flylikeaneagle for this interesting contest. The best thing about these is one writes something they might not have ever written otherwise.

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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