She, my Father and I were all blessed with the same colour eyes: icy blue that would soften to a bright sky blue when they so desired. When I look in the mirror I can see and feel the genetic link that even death cannot take away from me. This same mesmerizing shade of blue has become my 'signature' colour in the garden, for no other reason than to assuage my grief and fulfil the greedy need to keep them close. Both my Grandmother and Father passed within four months of each other. Together once more. But she is here as well, here in the green sanctuary that I refer to as 'Teza's Garden.'
As a species, we have come to rely on marking the passage of time in ten year intervals or pockets, and we refer to them as decades. We speak at great length about the 'Sixties or the Seventies,' and some of us find themselves stagnated in the 'Eighties' when it comes to music. But the same cannot be said for the measuring of time since a loved one has moved beyond our grasp. Just as the adage, 'time heals all wounds,' brings an undeniable sense of comfort and peace, when I realize that it has been ten years since I looked into those icy blue eyes, heard her voice, smelled her home baking, I am filled with a rekindled sense of longing. It is at times like this that I escape to my garden.
She instilled in me an appreciation for the beauty that is Mother Nature, and I like to believe that she is also responsible for the spark that has over the years ignited into a pulsing flame that leads me towards those things rare and unusual - all of which I have spent the past decade collecting in hopes that they will reside happily here under my parental care and my Gran's watchful eye.
I am not religious. It was never easy trying to explain to her that for me there is no one supreme entity, but rather we are all part of the unexplainable cycle of Nature. I am more at home in my garden than I am with most people. The sheer magnificence of a blue Meconopsis peeking out from the golden boughs of an ancient Metasequoia is enough to bring me to my knees in silent supplication. When my beloved Meconopsis all bloomed during the week that framed mine, my Father's and my Grandmother's birthday, it was like the striking of a gong or cymbal - I needed no further proof that for me my belief system was intact! Walking past this display every morning for close to two weeks was like having the two of them right there, practically within my grasp!
In the weeks following my Grandmother's death, I found myself visiting her grave on a near daily basis. Family grew concerned. They need not have been. Her grave is located on a rural concession, surrounded within mere minutes by that same magical 'darkling wood' where I first discovered my passion for all things dark, green and shady. I confess here that I might have ignored more than one 'No Trespassing' sign, as I traversed the magical beauty that still held me spellbound, thirty nine years later.
My garden is an extension and celebration of her life. It is my solace and sanctuary away from the loudness of the everyday world. It is here where I am most often at peace with myself. It is here that I realize the stresses of life are actually rather insignificant when I realize that a single, delicately clawed Epimedium blossom can wipe the stress and agitation from your mind with a single glance. It is the love and nurturing, the confidence and encouragement that best personifies the relationship that was mine and my Grandmother's. Ours. Mine. It is my tapestry of the beauty and majesty that is Mother Nature.
Ten years later, I still miss her - without a doubt. Ten years later my garden has continued to grow: new children are added as others take leave, just as her spirit did ten years earlier. All is well. Life moves forward as it is deemed to do. The cyclical rhythm of Nature blesses us with Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter - each season an essential part of the life cycle of the garden.
I will spend the morning in the garden. I am confident that her spirit was make itself known, and we will be able to silently pass a day in a manner that will leave me feeling a little less sad, more proud of the enigmatic woman she was and more aware of the impression she made upon my life.