When I was a child, I had a garden. It was a beautiful, marvelous, glorious garden.
It was carefully cultivated by my siblings and me. Every day, we would go out into the backyard and bask in the shade of the gigantic orange tree. We dug and planted and watered. We talked about what we hoped would grow and how wonderful it would be.
We grew orange trees, primarily. But also some nut trees, but we couldn’t tell you which because, back then, a nut was a nut. We had some lovely flowers that grew tall and mighty with colorful blossoms that bloomed in all their glory all year round. There were patches of soft grass scattered around and other patches of unknown greens.
Hey, we were kids. We didn’t actually know much about plants.
But it was a beautiful garden. We toiled hard, and got excited when there was something new to plant.
It was a magic garden, full and lush, with everything imaginable growing wild.
But we grew up one day. And left the garden behind.
By then, we could see the truth.
In our minds, the garden was glorious.
In reality, we had spent countless days and hours under the giant orange tree, up to our elbows in dirt. We planted things. But not seeds or baby plants. No, we planted oranges that had fallen from the tree, nuts we’d collected from the kitchen or the park, mostly dead flowers plucked from the yard, grass we’d pulled up, and probably more than one weed.
It wasn’t the beautiful garden. It never grew. For all I know, all those weird things we buried under the orange tree are still there today.
But what did grow was the relationship the three of us shared. We went through seasons where we were close and seasons where we hated each other’s guts. But, during school vacations and summers we were almost inseparable. We chose to plant a garden day after day together. We each brought something new and strange and hoped for the best. We dreamed of our own gardens, and we had fun.
In the end, it was a magic garden. The very best.