I watched him through our kitchen window, an older gentleman standing by the curb. He was looking past our garden gate, admiring the plants, various hydrangea that were reaching the peak of their soft whiteness. Come fall, they will be a delicate pink, then brown, as Mother Nature guides them to dormancy, but for now they are like a fragile lace, petals laying softly, one upon the other.
I’ve noticed him other times, generally during evening walks, exercising at a pace suitable for his years, while enjoying the canvas of colors that our neighborhood becomes after a long, harsh winter. Our garden is a regular stop for him, albeit brief, inspecting the plants for changes, I suppose, as our daylight lengthens and we transition from spring to summer. The garden seems to look its best before sunset.
The idea of introducing myself seemed like the sociable thing to do, but on second thought why interrupt a peaceful interlude with idle chatter? One can’t look at gardens to appreciate the graceful way its flowers, leaves and branches blend with and balance each other while in idle conversation. I held back and allowed him to enjoy his solitude and solidarity with our garden, before he resumed his slow walk with a look of satisfaction on his face.
How can one not appreciate the simple beauty of a garden? On occasion, I’ll sit and watch our hydrangea in an almost meditative state. I become aware of the ground, constantly moving, ever so slowly as I stare, often mesmerized. Hardy sedums creep along the soil, reaching out and claiming new territory with their thick roots and attractive colors. An earthworm appears, if only for a moment. Bugs and spiders (are they the same?) move cautiously across rocks while bees and ants are in a state of constant motion. I’m alerted by a mosquito.
The garden is a rapid version of our own existence. It lives, grows vibrant, weakens and fades, to be replaced by a new variety in time. The cycle of life, I suppose.
As for the old man, I haven’t seen him for weeks. Things change, others will surely take his place at our gate…or someone’s gate.
To passersby who enjoy our garden views. I see you through our kitchen window…