TITLE: The Love for Gardens
By Francie Snell
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The Love for Gardens
One thing Susan and I had in common was our love for beautiful gardens and gardening; not that I had ever proved myself at being any good at it. Yet, often we talked about her yard trying to come up with ideas on how to make it more appealing. We decided the best place to start would be getting rid of the weeds along the short walkway leading from the street to her front porch.
As I recall, It was late in the morning in early summer when Susan, Sam, and I went outside to sit upon the hard cement with her and I wearing broad brimmed sun hats. She wisely chose a place next to the house, protected from the sun, while Sam and I sat just across from her where the sun beat down, and me lathered with sun guard.
The three of us picked, pulled, chatted, and laughed for about an hour until the day grew uncomfortably hot and Susan appeared tired. We all went inside and had lunch, ending our day in the garden, a pleasant experience. The planting area was now ready for new flowers.
Encouraged by our accomplishment, Susan and I started planning for our next gardening project. However, this one would not be near as successful.
We called them trees, but in all reality, they were an overgrown mass of unruly pyrachantha bushes planted decades earlier by someone who apparently had a fetish for them. Over the years, they had grown into a barbarous collection of prickly limbs and branches towering to heights of over 12 feet high and widths encroaching into the limbs of the trees beside them. They appeared like an angry mob had taken over the entire front yard.
As we stood together one day surveying the jungle, Susan and I agreed how nice it would look if they were more manicured.
“Sam likes looking out the window at the trees,” she stated.
"Aaah, another reason to clean up the mess" I thought, and so I offered, “What if I trimmed them back...that shouldn’t be so hard.”
She seemed hesitant with the idea, and so I pressed, “Sure, I can start with that one,” pointing at a tree growing next to the walkway and closest to the front window. “Then I can do the next one and work my way around to the rest. It shouldn’t take me that long to get them all done.”
She pensively gazed at the tree. “Well, I guess you can try trimming it a bit and see how it looks.”
“Okay,” I chirped, and eagerly started for the hedge clippers stored at the other side of the house, while Susan stepped inside to make us lunch.
With clippers in hand, I approached the unsuspecting tree. Standing on my tippy toes, I stretched up as high as I could reach to begin my attack at the top. Tightly pursing my lips with each snip here and clip there, twelve feet became eight. "That was easy. Now for the sides…." I started on the branches, striving to create a symmetrical design. With delusions of grandeur, I truly believed I knew what I was doing.
As I clipped away, I imagined the wonderful surprise it would be to Susan …and Sam for that matter, as they would stand together in their living room, side-by-side, looking out their front window.
Viola. I stood back with self-appreciation, but it quickly dawned on me that the outcome was not what I intended. The tree - now a scraggly, tall bush - looked like it had just lost a battle.
Gaping at the pitiful sight I suddenly realized I was not a landscape artist after all and began to worry about Susan and Sam’s dismay when they discovered what I had done. I consoled myself, "It’s ok, it will grow back, fuller this time…eventually".
I decided at this point to abort the mission.
Later I learned, through Susan’s discreet politeness, and in not too many words, that Sam didn’t appreciate my lack of talent either, though he never made mention of it to me. I figured, between the two of them, they probably agreed that the Lord was not calling me to be an arborist, and perhaps considered other areas of expertise where I was probably better equipped.
With my driving abilities already tried and tested, and with that in mind, I would continue my efforts in helping her in other ways, getting her to where ever she wanted to go.
I would become her chauffeur.
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