A Most Humble Garden

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine… “ (Ancient Proverb)

I’ve been thinking lately during those lazy days of summer about the importance of just clearing my mind with less worry about life’s persistent pressing problems. For in my yoga practice, I’ve diligently learned to just “go with the flow” during critical challenges of life. Yet it’s one matter to just lie still on a mat and meditate in silence to a positive chant or some pleasing music. But could I be equally successful letting my inner intuition guide me in more challenging circumstances? The following fictional story thus exemplifies how a chance reunion with one’s past aroused interest in evolving into such a new person.

A Most Humble Garden

It’d been at least five years since George, a retired music professor, had taken part in the education world in any capacity. Undoubtedly, fond memories surfaced now as he glanced at some trophy and diploma mementos from his younger days. For he took great pride in knowing that he achieved well in his university days and had earned tenure as a hard working faculty member. So why did he dread so much the decision to “brush up” a bit on some secondary skills he possessed today? For he would soon return to the academic world once more as a sixty seven year old student by enrolling in a full semester, online course titled ” Ecology and Botany in a Landscape World”.

On the first night of this course, however, George’s self-driven ego spoke loudly to him with doubt. For he pondered why did he need to participate in a challenging small group project of ecological significance as stipulated by the syllabus to be the most significant grade portion of the course. For it seemed simply a waste of his precious time to work with others at least forty years younger than him being so inexperienced than him in the academic learning world. There would thus be no sympathy felt, in his eyes, for those who had not “paid their dues” and he thus reasoned that he could handle the course objectives in his own familiar stoic fashion to master the project assigned.

Yet this particular ecology project soon perplexed George as to how it could be completed without seeking others help. For his assigned team would be required to to collaboratively design a garden plot including an assorted ecosystem of herbs, flowers and various nutritious fruits and vegetables to plant at vacant spots designated within a local community garden. So with good reason, George thought that such an unaccustomed endeavor that required him to dig, till and water soil regularly on his own could never be “his cup of tea” so to speak. Yet with uncharacteristic new insight , his thoughts turned to his ten year old granddaughter, Julie. For he knew that she visited them for a short time on most afternoons before returning home to dinner covered in dirt after playing games with her friends on the grounds of a nearby local park. Thus he prophesied that she would enjoy the similarly unclean experience of using her hands to garden with him each afternoon after school. So in the ensuing weeks of the course, Julie would in fact get “down and dirty” with George in his portion of the community garden as they together sprouted some fertile plant growths of  citrus fruit and yellow marigolds with success.

So as the course continued, these lessons of his daughter’s unconditional willingness to help stuck firmly in George’s mind. As a result, he seemed more amenable to logging into the online chat box link each week now to engage with his three other project group members about the progress of each of their gardening efforts. Such team mentoring would serve him well as he proceeded to picture himself as his team’s “virtual” discussion leader. As a result, he listened empathetically to other members deal with various  team crises as the final course deadline approached. For the professor intended to inspect each garden by way of a video linked schedule  set up for each group at  a specific day and time.       

 To George’s credit then, he seemed to have evolved as a person during the masterful completion of this garden plot. So it seems  of far greater importance to him than earning that final grade of “A” in the course, that this garden still stands today as a special shrine he can visit when he desires a jolt of “inner”satisfaction. For he can always find time to relive proudly those times amid this pleasant ecological setting as a new pattern became set in his life for reaching out to others rather than suffering self sacrifice alone to help silence his persistent worries.

For your added interest to the ecology theme of this post, I invite you to check out five of our favorite gardens that I’ve photographed on previous vacations.

Yampa River Botanical Park- Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Epcot Resort Gardens – Lake Buena Vista, Florida
King’s Square Park – St.John, New Brunswick Canada
Halifax Public Gardens. – Halifax , Nova Scotia Canada
Elder & Sage Community Garden, Asheville , North Carolina

4 thoughts on “A Most Humble Garden

Add yours

  1. Gardens is such a loose term. Community gardens for growing seasonal food is my favorite. The idea to share your crops and able to eat fresh grown food is wonderful!


  2. What a lovely article. I believe that by visiting a garden we can discover how it can enliven all five senses – touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste – to build a connection with the world around you and bring joy and wonder into the everyday. Simply being outside can help to ground and calm you, and learn what plants to grow to nourish both your mental and physical wellbeing. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx


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