The Yellow House in Calder

I think one of the best things about getting to know people is that you learn to know not just them, but their families. Their stories, who they are, what they are a part of, become part of your life.

I have “known” Brown Owl’s family for a while. Her mother, who had been so vibrant, until the ALS came, and then was vibrant in that secret place inside of her, until reaching heaven. And Brown Owl’s dad, the gardener.

I was sad at his funeral for many reasons. Because Brown Owl loved him, was dedicated to him. Because she cared for him, and with her mother gone, she was more alone, and it hurt me to see her hurt. I was sad because I looked at the picture of the soldier and his girl, on the back of the prayer card, and my heart hurt that he was gone. I hurt because he was a good man, and those are few and far between. I hurt, because I hurt for his garden, left alone, without the gardener to tend to it. Those of you who are gardeners will understand, in the midst of my hurt for Brown Owl, I worried, just a bit, about what would happen to his garden.

I knew a bit about Brown Owl’s dad, and I knew a lot about his garden. I have always thought that our gardens are our gifts to the world, and never more so than Wednesday night, as I walked through it. I have a pretty nice garden.

This garden? This was the garden of a life time. A real life time. Decades. 50 years, if I recall correctly. This is the garden of a man who planted an oak tree, about 10 years ago or so. This is the garden of a man who loved growing things.

It was my great and good honour to see it. To really look. Not just at what was blooming, but what was hiding. The ferns. The Columbine. The larkspur, the bachelor’s buttons, the roses, the peonies. To look and look and look.

And perhaps, perhaps the ultimate in honour. To bring things home to my garden, to carry forward more memories. To write, on the back of plant markers, “Al’s garden, 2009”.

Alleluia, Amen.

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4 Responses to The Yellow House in Calder

  1. Seraphim says:

    You have a beautiful garden. Thank you for taking the time to get to know me and my family. Love you. xxxx

  2. Martha says:

    Rest in Peace to Al, fellow lover of the soil who knows the plants, rocks, and trees will be here long after we are all gone.
    Peace to Brown Owl and her family.
    XX to Mrs.Spit

  3. Brown Owl says:

    A garden is a visual and scent memory of people, times, places. An archive of stories, and lessons learned. A place to grow, and nurture those things – and people – we love best. A place to escape.

    Dad loved his garden. And when the crocus and tulips planted in secret Oct 2007 (a surprise anniversary gift from Mom to Dad) bloomed again this year on their 62 wedding anniversary, Dad was able to enjoy her gift through time. So many wonderful memories to share.

    Thank you Mrs. Spit for remembering my Father with this gift. Dad would be so pleased to see love's memories flourishing in your garden.

    And what a delightful surprise! I spy your reflection in MacTavish's eyes!

    love always….

  4. Azaera says:

    That was beautiful.

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