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The Garden, the gardener and me The Garden, the gardener and me
by Matt Williamson
2007-08-13 09:40:51
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I followed the path along the twisting way. Grasses and moss grew up between the loose pebbles on the path, people do not use this path anymore and slowly nature was recapturing lost ground. I was looking for the gardener, the caretaker of the garden. I could hear him whistling in the garden, but the lush foliage made it impossible to see him.

This small garden stood alone in the midst of the city but I could not see or hear the city's sights and sounds now that I was in the garden. Colors filled my vision; reds, purples, yellows and greens. Lilies blew gently on the breeze. Daffodils swayed and rose bushes seemed to shimmer in the sunlight.

Again I heard the gardener whistling as he walked along the path. I could hear his feet on the path sometimes, the pebbles below him scratching against other pebbles.

Almost suddenly I smelled the sweet perfume of the flowers. It was not so sweet as to assault me, but rather the smell was soft and almost tasted sweet on my mouth. Like I could taste the nectar from each flower. I noticed the flowers one by one now, most of them I could not name, only knowing how I felt looking at them; and it felt good.

I turned another corner on the path, passing under the branches of an elm and then I saw the gardener. He was on his knees tending to some small red and yellow flowers with his bare hands.

I stood there a moment, not knowing what to do now that I had found him. The sun was warm on my face and I could hear the birds in the trees, the sound of the fountain in the pond; I didn't want to ruin this moment.

And then he turned around to face me.

He was me. My face, my body, even my clothes; me. I started to ask him how, but my voice would not come. My mouth opened and I just looked at him again. He smiled and motioned for me to sit down on the bench beside me.

"Before you ask your questions, really look at me, see me." he said in my voice.

So I did. I relaxed and looked again, this time I was seeing, not just looking.

He was me, that much was true, but he was me as I wanted to be. His eyes were soft and did not conceal malice or loathing. His voice seemed pure to me, there was no conceit there, no rush to judge. His forehead was mine too, but it was lacking the furrow that I had after a lifetime of frowning.

"Are you God?" I asked in my voice too.

"You think I'm God huh? You think I created all of this?" He looked around the center of the garden.

I started to look around again too, looking back to the garden and to the flowers, to the bushes and trees. The pond rippled from the splashing fountain, sunlight becoming golden jewels on the waves.

I understood.

"It isn't you. It's the garden, the garden created this place and you tend it," I said still looking at the pond.

"But, am I you? Are you me? What am I missing?" I asked looking into his eyes finally.

"Is there a difference? Where do you end and I begin? Where does the garden leave off and you start?"

I sat there on the bench beside him, looking at the garden, hearing and seeing.

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Paparella2007-08-13 11:55:50
"...The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
--T.S. Eliot

Indeed, in the beginning there is the end and in the end there is the beginning. Back to the garden? The end of the story in Michelangelo's explorations on the Sistine Chapel is the creation of light.


Clint2007-08-14 11:08:45
Great piece. I am reminded of something I read a while ago "that a lovely garden is a bond between God and Man, but you should have seen the state of it when God was doing it on his own!"


Matt Williamson2007-08-14 18:39:59
Thank you both, this one came out of me in about ten minutes late one night. I have more ficiton at www.hologramthoughts.com


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