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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Garden (09/07/06)

TITLE: The Garden Shroud
By Glenn A. Hascall


I come to the garden alone. This has been an odd passing and I simply wish to be alone with the rustling atmosphere of autumn. The corn stalks brush their paper-like leaves against each other. I sit on the garden bench and study a maple leaf now deprived of life giving nutrients through its veins. It lies useless beside me.

The spring was a time of great encouragement as the seeds were planted and spouts made their appearance in soldier-like formality. They held great promise and seemed eager to grow up. Of course that was before the hail and the bruised limbs of summer.

Yet even in summer the resilient plants hardened at their point of breaking and grew on. The fruit of their labor began to show. I would help them as much as I could, but the product of their labor was theirs alone and I gloried in their comeback.

Today I sit on a frost-covered bench and understand that there are some things a garden simply cannot overcome. Some leaves have already blackened and the cucumber plants drape the garden in an unusual, yet appropriate shroud.

And I recognize that this season of growth, damage and passing holds special meaning simply because I have seen so much of it in my own life. The growth and promise of youth, the damage that life can bring and the ultimate shroud that always comes sooner than I would have hoped.

So, pardon me if I sit for awhile. The cold feels good and somehow exists in the marrow of my soul. I promise I won’t embrace it always, but for today I can do no less – and I can do no more.

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This article has been read 1027 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 09/14/06
I really don't have words for this — it moved me to the depths. Thank you.
Val Clark09/16/06
There is a time time for deep reflection; and what better place but in the garden where we see the cycle of life mirrored. yeggy
Marilyn Schnepp 09/18/06
Next to New Years Eve, the Autumn is next is line to bring out the musings of the past. This short, sweet and to the point essay says it all...and nicely.
Jan Ross09/19/06
So masterfully created! I love the way you used the brevity of this piece to communicate the message: So, pardon me if I sit for awhile. And, so you did! So well done! :)
Lynda Lee Schab 09/19/06
So few words, yet so many truths in this piece! This is a beautiful example of the power of the written word and making every word count. You took me through each season, literally and figuratively, leaving me with something to ponder today. Well done!
Jan Ackerson 09/19/06
Yep, this is a perfect example of "an ecomony of words." The only thing I'd change is to hyphenate "life-giving" in the first paragraph. That would make it into the adjective you intended, and as it is, I read it that sentence with "giving" as the verb, and it didn't make sense.

Such beautiful serenity in every perfectly chosen word.
Donna Powers 09/19/06
This really touched my heart. I can relate to the feelings in this story, and I am very glad you shared it. Nicely done!
Joanne Sher 09/19/06
Every word, obviously chosen so carefully, works just as it should. When I looked at the length, I anticipated telling you to expand - but once I read it, I knew this was exactly as long as it should be. Wonderful, haunting, vivid images and an unforgettable message. Wonderful!
Beth Muehlhausen09/19/06
Oooooh, I love this! Rich language...and the ending is perfect. Magnificent! I've been in this place myself: "The cold feels good and somehow exists in the marrow of my soul." It's good to hear about someone else's experience in that spot, too. :-)
Melanie Kerr 09/20/06
A thoughtful piece. I liked the way you tied in the seasons of growth in plants to seasons faced by a person.
Debbie Sickler09/20/06
Nice reflective piece. I noticed one typo though: "seeds were planted and spouts made their appearance". Think you meant sprouts. :) I really liked the last lines, saying you can do no more and won't embrace this feeling forever.
william price09/21/06
Very smart and moving. I've spent a lot of time in this garden. God bless.