Monday, January 21, 2008
Places I Remember
There are places I remember All my life though some have changed Some forever, not for better Some have gone and some remain...The Beatles
There are many places I have lived throughout my life, and I remember them all...the good, the bad and the ugly. There is a balance, on looking back...life's balance.
I was born in Hamburg, and I lived in an apartment block. There are disjointed memories of Germany. I was very young. I treasure those memories...when we emigrated I lost my grandparents. And those youthful recollections were to be the only thing I would have of them. But I remember my Opa's garden...a veritable haven for a young child.
My family moved to Canada, to a home I would live in throughout my youth. This home, a long way in the country from any city, would teach me to love solitude, although I didn't realize it when I was an angst-ridden teenager, one who thought she needed friends and activities much more than time alone.
And yet, I couldn't wait to take the school bus home, so that I could take my dog for a long walk through Fields and Forests, loving the days when Wind blew. I would work out many problems on those solitary walks, with my dog listening and passing no judgement.
By the time I moved to my own home, as opposed to my family's, I had already learned to love gardens and Plants, I spoke to Trees...and I discovered I craved solitude. By this time, I was living amongst my friends, living in a large City where activities were never-ending, and where time alone, with Nature as my only companion, was scarce.
I married and moved to Penticton, a city in the interior of BC. It was lovely there...my first husband and I lived in a house in the middle of an Orchard. For years thereafter, I could not buy fruit in the grocery store. The fruit fresh from the Tree tasted like ambrosia, compared to the cardboard offerings, all glitzy and pristine looking, in the stores.
The solitude was there; I was still very young, however, and even if I remembered in the midst of a crowd how I loved to be alone, I still thought I hankered for friends and activities...I still thought I was missing out. We moved back to the Coast, back to Ocean and misty weather.
But I learned I loved fresh fruits and vegetables; I learned, as well, that gardens take work...they don't just happen.
My first husband and I moved to a series of different, forgettable homes, with the exception of life's events that occurred at each...Heidi, at the age of two, falling from the deck two stories above the ground, narrowly missing a sawed off Tree spike, but coming through unscathed, is a memory that still has the power to grind my Heart to a stop.
My first husband and I were youngsters playing at adulthood. We were both seeking the security we had felt at home with our parents. Our first purchase of a house reflected this; the home on Glenside kept us together for five years longer, as we searched for the ever elusive safety net.
She was an older lady, situated at a Crossroad. I planted a garden there, I placed the roots as deeply as I could. For a long while, I wondered. Could I have planted them deeper...could I have helped the garden flourish just a bit more...?
But the marriage ended there, at the Crossroad. And I learned that houses take work, to keep them together and in good shape.
My second husband and I built a home I thought I would be in forever. I loved it; I knew where each stick of wood had been placed. She became, as she grew into a formidable Tudor style home, a part of my soul, and for a long time, after we left her, that part stayed with her.
I planted Hawthorn Trees along the drive, and a huge Wisteria clambered up to the roof, showering a purple haze down the front of Our Lady. There were huge, old Fir Trees in the backyard, and I made paths throughout our Forest, planting violets and bulbs here and there.
Many memories here with Our Lady...it is where the children grew into teens. It is where huge crowds of kids congregated, with Our Lady large enough to embrace them all. Where she witnessed many events by teens who push the adult limit... and where she kept their secrets, all to herself.
During the last years of high school for the girls, we moved once again, very unwillingly this time. My ex-husband gave many good reasons for moving; unarguable reasons. We had horses, which were boarded out. He wanted property.
I learned, no matter how much I loved something, nothing is forever...
We bought almost three acres, about 15 minutes from the town centre. This house, I thought, this house would be my home, my base. I would make it into that, even if there were no signs this house could be this way.
And because I could not take the house apart, I covered the beginning rot with cosmetic applications, and when I could do no more...I concentrated on the garden.
This garden would become the epitome of my dreams, I thought then. I would see the Trees grow to fruition, I would know each and every piece of vegetation growing there, very intimately.
Graduations and weddings and births and deaths were to be experienced here. Recovery from alcohol was due, in large part, to the Secret Forest and the strength I gathered there, from the old Fir and Hemlock and Cedar Trees. This old house we made into a very pretty home and the property she stood on witnessed so many tears, fears...and joys, as well...over the twenty years I lived there.
The most stable...and unstable...twenty years of my life. Where was the elusive security I so desperately hankered for? And what was it?
That security wasn't here, in this old home, I learned. Separations and the subsequent Divorce had me living alone, nurtured by the caring arms of the Trees and garden for three years.
And the garden taught me where that security I searched for really was.
It became obvious to all but me that I could not keep up a sagging Lady and three acres of Land, on my own. It took three years before I worked off the many emotions and tides of anger that constantly threatened to flood me, to overwhelm any seeds of mental well-being which might be taking root.
Three years of solitude, gardening and upkeep...I learned reality is much different for a woman living alone...but I did it! And when it became routine and mundane, when the adrenaline slowed and a glimpse of peace was dawning...I met Graham.
Again, I moved...a more mature and balanced woman, yet one just beginning her journey, had I but known it.
I built a garden here, to show off our Gracious Lady. And I planted these roots very deeply, adding mulch, watching for signs of distress. Then dealing with any problems the minute they arise.
We have lived here five and one-half years, and during that time the garden has flourished...so much so, a neighbour called it a "mature" garden. With the exception of Grandfather Tree, my mentor, it is a young garden showing off its bones...if I look hard enough, I can see the maturity happening, right before my eyes.
And now, it is enough to know I have created it. I have added beauty and Trees where there were none. I have shown what is inside myself, with this garden.
Again, I will leave it. The serenity of this Gracious Lady, who is situated on a Crossroad, has instilled in me a peaceful, loving acceptance of life and where it leads.
A new place to remember is waiting just over the horizon.
I wonder...what will I learn in this new garden?
" All these places have their moments With lovers and friends I still can recall Some are dead and some are living In my life I've loved them all"...The Beatles