Saturday was one of those lovely rainy days, when you love to be in the garden. Misty rain that comes and goes with a little bit harder rain every now and again.
A soft rainy day that makes you want to be in the garden, the green seems greener, the birds seem friendlier and the air seems cleaner. It saves you the work of watering your newly planted flowers and the earth is so much easier to carve.
Walking through the garden early in the morning I suddenly knew what the day would bring...creating potted plants for my deck. I set out to visit my favorite nursery, where I have been buying all my plants, flowers and gardening things for six years. The owner of the nursery is an elderly man, who recently lost his wife. I have watched him go from an energetic busy gardener with smiles and greetings to a frail and dazed person who often stands watching his son and employees busy themselves in his nursery. It seems to me that he has lost the two loves of his life, his wife and his garden.
As I wandered in search of the perfect fillers for my pots, I waved to him and said hello. He looked over and seemed to recognize me, or perhaps happy to be recognized himself. He started following me, and answering my questions about what I should use in my pots for the sunny side of my garden. He said “have I told you about my favorite poem?” I said “No” with a smile. He began to recite a poem from memory of how beautiful it is to be in the garden so close to God. As he recited this to me, I could see his eyes well up with tears. I stood in that moment and realized how special it was, and this man so touched my heart. I wondered if it might have been a favorite poem of his wife’s.
As his son put the potting soil in my car, he stood holding the tray of my plants waiting for me to open the trunk of my car. As I thanked him, I felt so connected to him and his message. I left with plants, potting soil and my heart softened by this lovely poem. All day long I carried that moment with me and suddenly the little things I might have fretted over vanished into a bigger message. Sometimes it might be a word, an image or something that you hear that wraps itself around your heart. In those moments it feels as if God is speaking directly to you. Time stands still and the message seems to have come from an entrance to that secret place within. I love it when moments occur that make me stop and embrace it’s magic. The man’s name, well it is the same as his lovely nursery...Angel.
When I returned home I looked up the poem.
The Lord God Planted a Garden
By Dorothy Frances Gurney (1858-1932)
The Lord God planted a garden
In the first white days of the world,
And He set there an angel warden
In a garment of light enfurled.
So near to the peace of Heaven,
That the hawk might nest with the wren,
For there in the cool of the even
God walked with the first of men.
And I dream that these garden-closes
With their shade and their sun-flecked sod
And their lilies and bowers of roses,
Were laid by the hand of God.
The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth, –
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
For He broke it for us in a garden
Under the olive-trees,
Where the angel of strength was the warden
And the soul of the world found ease.
The name of the song is Song from a Secret Garden, and the artist is Secret Garden. Perhaps this song does hold a key to the secret garden within, because the haunting melody is familiar but only to my heart.