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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Summer (the season) (07/09/09)

TITLE: My Summer Gardener
By Linda Boulanger


I looked through the multi-paned windows of the French doors out onto the neatly manicured back yard. The flowers had begun to bloom. Not the delicate buds of spring, but the more vibrant, hearty flowers of summer; the Crape Myrtles, the Hibiscus, the Oleander, the Hydrangeas. Lovely, I thought. I always awaited this time of year with a great eagerness.

I smiled thinking back across the years and the many events in my life that had been greeted by the amazing arrival of the summer flowers. My son had been born right before they burst forth. I remembered standing at this very spot holding him in my arms. Through hazy eyes from lack of sleep I realized the yard was filled with color. We’d also adopted our little Poochy as the bright blooms came to life one summer. She’d raced around the yard, through the bushes, causing colored heads to fly everywhere. We’d watched her, mouths open in disbelief before bursting into laughter at the joy of her new-found freedom among her forever family.

My father, a widower for many years, had been granted a second chance for love and been married one Saturday morning among the lovely blossoms. And now…I was the one to find myself alone; another life event right as the flowers were blooming.

Again I smiled at the thought of my husband’s passing. People said I was in denial; that I wasn’t grieving enough. They thought the reality of my aloneness had not sunk in yet and felt obliged to remind me of it often.

Oh, I missed him terribly. But, the truth was, I knew where he was and that it wouldn’t be all that long until I’d join him. Be it 8 days, 8 months, 8 years, however long, in the whole scheme of things, it would not be long at all.

I thought of the words a dear friend had written to us in a note that accompanied a wedding gift. As fresh as yesterday it read, “May you be joined together by the Master of Marriage, bound together by your love and commitment, and separated only by the doorway into life everlasting.” Only eternity kept us a part. Soon enough our spirits would reunite. I was comforted knowing what and who awaited me.

He was my summer gardener; the one who designed the beds and tended the flowers we both loved. He planted seeds of life and wisdom within me and nourished them for all of the fifty-nine years we’d been together. We met for the first time when I was but seventeen years old, married when I was twenty-three and began to create a life together…

Silent tears coursed down my cheeks making the yard a blur of color. Quickly, I wiped them away. He would not want me to have tears. It won’t be long, I heard again in my head. It was up to me now to plant the seeds, tend to the harvest and to continue to prepare the ones that would take my place, just as he had prepared me.

With my head held high I donned my straw hat and gloves. Picking up the sheers, I stepped into the back yard that had been his domain. Outside, my grandchildren waited for me to join them; to cut for them a magnificent bouquet of their grandfather’s flowers. It would grace our dinner table; a gentle reminder of the love of our summer gardener. As I cut, I began to talk, to sow seeds of gentleness into their hearts; seeds that I had no doubt would take root and grow, creating a world of blossoming harvesters. The mission of my summer gardener would indeed be carried on.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Virgil Youngblood 07/17/09
Well written. Thanks for sharing this tender memory and message of love.
Lurlene Madsen08/14/09
Beautiful. Well written. A reminder of how personal viewpoint colors everything. And a reminder of the value & responsibility of shaping the tender plants in our families. Thank you.