Garden Secrets

With my 56th approaching by week’s end, I thought to throw out a birthday challenge for the week. Can I create a post a day, limit 300 words or so, each one about Nature or our garden? Of all the topics I blog about, writing about Nature thrills me the most.

Born in the spring and raised in Atlanta, I always thought the world celebrated my birthday by bursting into blossom. And while many a birthday up here in the Great Lakes State has often been spent wearing snow boots, this year my day has been heralded for nearly two weeks already.

I am grateful for each of you who stops by, leaves a comment or just allows my words to lift your heart or pique your curiosity. I won’t send out a daily notice of a new post. Just know that there will be a nature reflection each day this week. Here’s Day Four’s post.

There are secret gardens and then there are garden secrets, hidden vignettes of flora or sculpture, a cairn of souvenir stones or shells, or the wrought iron planter you grabbed from a neighbor’s refuse pile on trash day.

And then there are the mementoes that are not really secret, but tucked away just the same. They await you each spring as you head out full of purpose, only to be stopped in your tracks by bittersweet memories. McKenzie’s grave marker does it to me every year. Four times now I have started to clear the brush, knowing it is there, and four times now my breath catches in my lungs and my heart folds in on itself, an origami of sorrow.

She was a lovely and sweet dog, never yappy; she was affectionate and free with licks and tail wags. McKenzie made us laugh and regularly invited us to chase her through the house. She didn’t really do tricks but was a great walking buddy, having been trained not to stop and sniff every rock, tree trunk or dog bottom that we might encounter. She came to us by chance and for a decade delighted us daily. And then she was gone, too soon, too painfully.

There are those who can never be without a dog and then there are others, like Martin and me, who wait too long, like parents who kind of think they’ll go for one more child but grow complacent and comfortable not having to drag along extra diapers and sippy cups on every excursion. We’ve toyed with the idea but always turn practical and budget conscious. What about the traveling we want to do? What about being footloose? What about having to make once again the searing decision to end a beloved life?

And so we remain dogless but not dogfree. No one who has ever loved a dog completely lets go of the leash.

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