Yesterday, Joey, our lawn guy, dug a hole and planted the gardenia bush the family sent to honor Paul’s memory. There are some blooms on it already and, combined with the jasmine growing nearby, it distributes a heavenly scent along one end of the lanai.
Later on, I puttered in the garden, attempting with all my mind and all my senses to pull memories of Paul close to me. Somehow, although I knew there was beauty and color all around me, everything seemed pale and incomplete without Paul to share it. It reminded me of an unfinished watercolor painting that the artist has set on a shelf and never returned to finish. One has to strain to visualize how the finished painting would have looked.
Paul used to love to watch me deadheading, pruning, and weeding among the flowers and shrubs. “You belong in a garden,” he would say. I would agree. I began gardening, after a fashion, when I was two years old. That is when my daddy marked off a small plot just for me in the flower garden that bordered our front lawn. Daddy used to love to tell the story of how I would discover snails on the undersides of the leaves and quickly pop them in my mouth before he could stop me. Fortunately, I eventually learned not to eat the snails and developed a love of gardening that has endured to this day.
I imagine one day I will see my garden in full color again, as it was when Paul was around to share the experience. For now, I reach out and pull the memories close, sensing his presence with me.
©2013 Laura Allen Nonemaker All Rights Reserved