By Beth Schreibman Gehring -Chairman of Education Western Reserve Herb Society
This was written by my husband Jim one day after he came to pick me up from working in our beautiful Western Reserve Herb gardens.
Strolling through a large garden I found myself captivated by the smile on the Gardener's face, so I stopped for a moment to watch her at work. She looked up at me, stood up-right and in a wonderfully gentle voice she asked "can there be a more lovely day?" Finding myself in the midst of this most colorful garden with a bright blue sky and pleasant warm sunshine I not only agreed, I knew it was true.
"It is indeed just so lovely" I replied.
I paused for a moment, but eager to keep the conversation going I asked her the first question that came to mind, "What do you do with your time when you are not in this beautiful garden?"
She looked at me and asked, "when am I not in my garden?" as a large grin spread across her cheeks revealing the most wonderful and generous wrinkles of joy.
"Yes", I said, now feeling even more inspired. "How about before you fall asleep or when you wake up?" I asked, sincerely wondering how she lived life outside this beautiful place that she obviously took such great pleasure in.
"That just might be the times when I do my best gardening work" she said, relaxing herself for a moment as she engaged me in conversation.
As she continued I noticed a natural patience in her demeanor, which was easily portrayed by her soft and smooth voice. "Every night just before I fall asleep I am enveloped in the feeling of gardens to come, the one's that express such beauty and joy as I have yet to produce. I know they are coming, because as I "see" these wonderful visions I can feel them as if they are real, I can smell them and touch them so vividly. They are to me in that moment as real as where you and I are standing right now. “
My mind was mesmerized by this picture she had so gracefully painted for me. My feelings rested contently in this garden vision, full of such beauty that was beyond the glorious place where we were both standing.
"Of course, she laughed, my mornings are something else altogether".
"I awake in the morning and in that moment I am present to a feeling of appreciation for all the joy and wonder that awaits me!"
then looked at me and continued...
"The morning is when my feelings take root, backed by the images that spring forth in my mind, to bear fruit throughout the day, much like the seeds I tend here in this very garden."
"We often refer to it as gratitude, or appreciation, but for me it is like gardening, for when I open my eyes in the morning that is where my craft begins. I know in my heart that to be a good gardener it is so important to tend the soil, and to ensure the seeds have the right amount of sunlight, and always provide the right amount of water based on the unique characteristics of your plants."
She paused again, without a motion, as if to just take in the beauty that comes from an unseen place that at that very moment surrounded us.
"I feel that gardening has given me a gift for creating beauty both here" she said gesturing to the landscape around us, "and here" she said as she softly reached up resting her hand in the center of her chest. "It’s as if the sunshine, water and soil are just symbols for the thoughts, feelings and actions that, when properly tended to, ensures the same richness of experience in life as a well-tended garden, bringing to our senses the most wonderful sites, tastes and smells! "
She leaned upon her spade and smiled.
After a moments pause, she looked at me directly, eyes filled with a soft twinkle, choosing her final words with care. “For me it is such a blessing to know that one's life can be so whole and complete, no matter your career or passion. I guess you could say that I am, simply put, a peaceful happy gardener – both within and without, wherever I go, now in this conversation, while I eat and yes, even when I sleep. It brings me such joy that I cannot help but to wish this blessing for everyone I know.”