It stays dark for a long time now in the mornings. You can’t just walk out with your coffee at 5:00 a.m. and wander around the garden looking at the roses, the lilies, the zinnias. Even though you planted the zinnias a month too late. They’re there. In pinks, reds, and oranges, magentas and yellows, white and every pale bubble gum color in between.
You can’t see them because it’s dark. But in the dark you sometimes begin to see….and hear and smell and feel the garden once again. No matter what is happening in life, sickness, death or poverty, or any other human anxious dire thing. The garden always calls. Lifts me up. Makes me forget. Gives me hope. Tells me it is another day. Let’s me see how fragile, delicate, evanescent, transcendent, beautiful, ugly (sometimes) tired, hopeless and endlessly fascinating it is. Because even in the dark it calls and in the dark you have the Stars.
The garden at night. When it’s almost shimmering like dark water, in indigo blues, inky blues, shadowy black blues, charcoals and purples that turn into blood red before your very eyes.
A heart is beating, some tiny cricket still is peeping in silver or in gold.
I woke up like someone being called, being raised from my temporary death like Ebenezer Scrooge, with his ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. I woke from my sleep in my dark room and wandered down into the kitchen and made the coffee like I did in the long and bright summer mornings, when things are pink and blushing before the yellow sun rises… but I was my own ghost barely aware that I was even there not knowing how I climbed down the long steep stairs… I turned on the outside light and some of the lights in the house to illuminate very slightly the garden to keep the skunks, possums, raccoons, or any unwanted humans away… and I stepped out into the darkness of my garden…
You don’t see the brown crinkled leaves, the yellowing grass, the trees that refuse to bring you autumn’s jeweled colors, the white guinea Impatiens that will not grow lush and wide like puffy clouds to rim the tired trees, you don’t notice the Euphorbia that stopped suddenly as surprised as you to be abruptly stilled, and those deep velvety black petunias that you tried all summer long to grow in the pot of wild trailing white flowers…they said no too …but it doesn’t matter…. in the dark it doesn’t matter that they disappeared forever from your once enchanted garden…
Now as I was walking in the dark, the contours of the place I call my garden has completely been transformed as though some plastic surgeon on a human face, the garden once again has curves and pink plump skin and beautiful bones, as though it was just born with soft baby cheeks and dimpled smiles, and long lush borders like swans whose necks are stretching out on endless blue lagoons, trees that look primordial, paths that twist and turn, the hostas even look like something from Brazil in this dark, the trees are solid mahogany and you could swing wild beasts from the branches…. the wild-eyed monkeys can eat bananas from the spindly hydrangeas whose flowers are no longer white but something whiter and dark and fuller and more fragrant than any night blooming jasmine, and they even sing…..the huge and boxy ugly house behind me has become a mountain like the one you used to climb or at least a big soft grassy hill, and the stars oh the stars looking up as though being called to them, being beckoned, being blessed, being christened again in dark baptismal waters, the screams and silences, the fear and anxiety of all these days and nights just one long starry ladder one long winding path of silver one long breath of air one long whisper one long heartbeat one long pause one long pause that will go on and on and on until the stars fade away into the morning watery sky and then tomorrow perhaps I will awake again in the dark room and climb down the long stairs to the dark kitchen to fill my cup again and wander out again into the garden black as night but lit up by a thousand flaming candles.
I see so many stars I see the Knight in Shining Armor, I see the Flame Thrower I see the Ladies in Waiting, I see the Beggars, I see the Sleepers, I see the Keeper of the Flames, I see the White Goddess, I see the Benign Ruler I see the Swans and the Birds Floating and Flying and the Hunter hunting for roses not blood, I see I see I see the night in all its glorious thrilling magnanimous beauty, the night that let me sleep the night that let me rest and now the night that calls me that calls me back into the garden to wander now peacefully, serenely, and I think I even see my mother there, my father, my grandparents, and all those souls from long ago as though they were breathing still, as though they have become a part of the nebulae part of the amber landscape the sepia drawing the night the night the night becomes dawn and the purple morning glories still peek out on the gravel driveway and I see them now rich and dark and purple underneath the fading grapevines….. and I remember them even in the dark, the silent way, the almost shocking, wild and gaudy way they say good morning… and maybe just maybe. Hello. It’s time to start again.