Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Happy (07/12/07)
TITLE: The Master Gardener
By Betty Castleberry
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The first thing she noticed was her patch of lemon yellow snapdragons. A few had faded to muddy brown, their blossoms quickly spent in the summer heat. She reached down and snapped off the dead heads.
She had read somewhere that talking to plants was good for them. One cheery blossom was beginning to droop. She singled it out. “Hello pretty flower. I know the heat is hard on you. It’s hard on me, too. This heat wave will be over soon. Try to hang in there. You know you are my favorite.”
God‘s hand was everywhere in her garden. It was her Happy Place. She loved spending time among her plants and digging her fingers into the loose earth. Tending her plants always made her smile.
An arbor covered with tea roses the color of fresh, ripe peaches welcomed her each day. Just beyond the arbor was a rock wall flanked by two hydrangea bushes. The puffy pink blossoms spilled haphazardly over the wall. Maggie often sat on the wall and prayed, while taking in the fresh fragrance of the flowers.
She made her way to the waist-high wall and hoisted herself up. Nature’s sweet bouquet perfumed the air all around her. She brushed against a hydrangea blossom, causing the bloom to bob up and down and settle on the wall beside her. Maggie admired the large round flower. “My, aren’t you beautiful today? You know you are my favorite.”
Bowing her head, she prayed out loud. “Lord, You are the Master Gardener. Thank you for this place of solitude. Nothing brings me more happiness than to sit among your beautiful creations and think of You. I see You in every bud, every bloom, and every leaf here. Thank you for guiding my hands and giving me enough wisdom to tend Your garden. And thank You for loaning it to me to enjoy.”
When she opened her eyes, a bed of zinnias caught her attention. The blossoms were firecracker hot, their foliage cool green. Unlike the snapdragons, they loved the heat. She hopped off the wall and went for a closer look. Jolting orange, wild fuchsia, and lipstick red blooms stood at attention to greet her. Maggie touched a hot pink blossom. “You know you are my favorite.”
A riot of daylilies bloomed next to the zinnias. They looked particularly healthy. This was the first year Maggie had planted them, and she was pleased they had done so well. She ran her fingers down the long green stem of one of the large blooms. The colors reminded her of the sunset. She bent down and closely examined the flower. “You know you are my favorite.”
She strolled through her garden, relishing the blooms, and seeking out anything that needed care. “In the Garden” seemed an appropriate song to sing, so Maggie sang joyfully, although a little off-key. Her high pitched, creaky offering was only for the Lord to hear anyway, and she knew it sounded wonderful to Him.
Maggie had placed a bench at the end of her garden path. Next to the bench was a large oak tree, and just a few feet away was a bird bath. It was one of Maggie’s favorite places, offering shade and respite. Maggie sat on the bench and watched a sparrow splashing the shallow water in the bird bath. Droplets shot skyward, catching the sun’s rays and creating tiny midday stars above the small bird’s head. He was thoroughly enjoying himself. Maggie chuckled as she watched, then said softly as he flew off, “You know you are my favorite.”
Maggie closed her eyes. A cool breeze blew across her forehead, ruffling her hair. She found that odd, because the day was humid and still. Her eyes fluttered open, and she looked around, then closed them again. Once again, a cool breeze brushed across her face. This time she kept her eyes shut, and a slow smile began to form on her lips. A solitary voice, soft as a whisper, and as melodious as a full choir, seemed to come from every direction.
She thought she would burst with joy as she distinctly heard the voice say, “You know you are my favorite.”
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