The February sunshine steeps your boughs
and tints the buds and swells the leaves within.
The groves were God’s first temples.
— William C. Bryant
Daily on my walks, I see miracles of beauty, hidden places that driving would never reveal. The slower I walk, with more deliberation and care, with time to look around, the more my soul lifts with the beauty casually offered to my eyes. Some combinations of shrub and tree were created with careful selection, pruning, fertilizing and skill beyond mine. I am the worshipper, visiting briefly in temples built by others.
Even my own garden has treasures I received, simply by deciding to dwell here. Some irises were planted by a previous owner. I thought they would be purple, and each year I waited for them to bloom. Their leaves never embraced a flower stem except once, overshadowed as they had become by the vigorous forsythia planted too close. One fall, I pruned back the forsythia. That next spring, the forsythia did not bloom, but the iris did: delicate and pale pink, with a creamy white interior.
not purple, unexpected
the pink of my son’s rosy cheeks
bearded iris bloomed
My neighbor, Terry, came down the driveway, waving, and calling to me. She told me she was delighted to see Reed’s irises in bloom after so many years. She asked for one, and I freely gave it. She told me about the woman who had planted them. Reed had developed brain cancer and was gone in a few months. The neighbors had come together to make the family meals while she enjoyed her last days, looking out on her garden. One neighbor came to play harp for her in the evenings. Now her garden is my garden, and her irises are in my care.
Last year, I moved all those irises away from the forsythia and into the sun. My neighbor, Terry, came by again: her iris had not survived. I told her I would give her another one day, once they had recovered from transplanting. One spring soon, I hope to see that pale pink flower again. I will care for them here, in my outdoor temple. As I tend the memories of my own mother.
mourning in shade
thick green bud rises in the sun
time to bloom again
Added by request, an old iris painting of mine, purple like the ones I carried at my wedding:
Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham
Inspired by the Līgo Haībun Challenge Prompt: Temple.