Precise. Symmetrical. Flourishing. Brilliant.
That’s how she wants the garden to be.
So she cuts another branch, digs another hole, pulls another root, falls on her knees and plants another seed.
Parts of the garden are full to bursting, while others cry out for cultivation. The trees are still young, but already some are willowy and tall while others are woven through with stubborn knots. Some are entwined together, never to be separated without a struggle.
Vines of ivy quietly wind along the wall, grasping for a glimpse of what lies on the other side. Sometimes she thinks these walls are too high. But then she sees where roots of massive trees, grown from the tiniest seeds, have cracked the very brick and mortar surrounding other gardens, and she is glad for the security.
She walks from end to end, pulling up dandelions with their ethereal orbs of white seeds. She could make a wish and scatter fairy seeds all over the garden, but she has learned how many weeds can spring from one stray, misplaced dandelion wish.
The hedges have been pruned, but not yet in the elegant, ornamental curves she imagined. They are simple and understated, not showy. Still, the lines have been drawn in good places.
Every seed she ever planted has grown. Some bloomed for a season and disappeared. Others bloom perennially, reminding her of past choices both wise and misguided.
There are seeds that others planted as well. Seeds that have grown into beautiful, flourishing flora, imparting exquisiteness she could never obtain alone. Seeds she never wanted, thrown over the walls by mindless gardeners who paid little care to their lots or anyone else’s. Seeds she let other gardeners plant because they looked so beautiful, but now they have multiplied beyond her control. After this season passes, she will find out whether these, too, are perennial, or if they will mercifully fade away.
She strives to see what others see when they enter the garden gates. She hopes that someday, someone will look at the garden and say, “There’s something especially beautiful about this one.”
For she knows that it is not perfect by any means. She knows that there is work to be done beyond what she can accomplish without a higher view. She wishes the trees had more fruit, the grass was greener, and certain flowers bloomed sooner. There are fallen leaves to be swept up and dead plants to be thrown away.
She looks back and regrets every unfortunate weed marring her work. The sky has gone dark and thunder rolls in the distance. The blooms are not as bright as they were when the sun shone. One particularly nasty clump of thorns brings a tear to her eye.
The rain begins to fall and she stands up, brushing the dirt off her wrists. As she turns to run from the storm, something catches her eye. A briar rose, bravely unfurling its colors amongst the thorns. Wild and lovely, delicate and strong. Beautiful in spite of it all.
It gives her hope.