Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: DELICIOUS (02/04/16)
By Belinda Peoples
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Unlocking it on a hot day like today is akin to undoing the lid of a vegemite jar last used by the world’s strongest man. I’m turning shades of purple just trying to turn the key. I have to get out of this hotbox of a house for five minutes.
The lock finally clicks open in submission to the brute force of my desperation. With one swift kick from me, the final stickiness of door in frame is overcome and I escape. Just in time too. I was perilously close to my own unladylike tantrum.
Stones in the pebbled path crunch underfoot as I stomp towards the solace of my front garden. I try to diagnose how the morning went so wrong, but I shake my head in resigned defeat. I’m such a muddle of thought and emotion I still can’t think straight. The only decision I can make is to stop thinking until I feel better.
At the end of the path I kick my shoes off. My toes are tickled as I step onto soft blades of buffalo. The lawn is shaded from the sweltering afternoon heat by the Tallowwood at the western end of the garden. The green tufts grow so thick and dense at this time of year. My feet are instantly bathed by remnants of moisture from yesterday’s thunderstorm, trapped deep and kept cool, in spite of the heat, by the rich earth below.
The cooling sensation is so delightful I abandon all thought of propriety. In a moment, I’m flat on my back in the grass. Arms splayed out to the sides, I feel tiny pinpricks of moisture gradually enlarge until the whole back of me is soaked through to the skin.
Turning my head towards the garden, a strong urge to take in all of the surrounding beauty overwhelms me. Inhaling slowly and deeply, I’m enveloped by a symphony of rich perfumes floating on the warm summer air from plants nearby.
My eyes pause in their wandering to admire the beauty of delicate musk pink petals. Together they unfold in graceful unity to reveal coffee-coloured roses with a heady fragrance of honey and spice.
I brush my fingertips gently across the purple-veined green leaves of my perennial basil. They effortlessly reward my lazy encouragement with a sweet, earthy scent. It never fails to make me feel like making pesto.
I roll over a little so I can look at the garden bed behind me. An involuntary squeal escapes my lips as refreshing coolness now spreads to my left side. Propped up on one elbow, I survey the strawberry patch, hoping the birds haven’t beaten me to my next delight.
My persistent search pays off. I discover two perfect heart-shaped ruby jewels, mostly obscured by their umbrella of strawberry leaves, just waiting for my selfish enjoyment. As I reach at full-stretch to pluck these simple pleasures from their skinny stalks, I think of all the ways we’ve used our abundance of strawberries this summer. The favourite for the sweet tooths in the family was home-made strawberry ice-cream, but that’s not mine. I love strawberries straight from the garden; juicy and warm from the plentiful sunshine of summer.
As I roll the strawberries back and forth in the palm of my hand, I marvel at the way God perfectly packages these sweet morsels. These few minutes in the heaven-sent gift that is my garden have washed away my selfish feelings of frustration. The connection God gives me to himself, through my garden, never ceases to amaze me.
I’m about to pop the strawberries in my mouth when the front door bursts open. Two cheeky monkeys run at full-pelt until they are on their knees next to me.
“Mum! We didn’t know where you went! Ooh, did you find strawberries? Can we have one please?”
“Hmmm, don’t cheeky monkeys only like bananas?”
“Pleeeeeease Mum!” they beg, batting their eyelids over puppy-dog eyes.
“Oh, alright…” I give in, relinquishing my garden treasures. “…if I can have a cuddle!”
Instantly I’m flat on my back again, barrelled over by the boys and wrapped in a tangle of little arms and legs.
“Love you, Mum!” they chorus together.
That, for me, is the most delicious treat of all.
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