Monday, March 17, 2014

Looking Back, Moving Forward

I pride myself on my solid memory. Most of my students would likely recall I would often tap my right temple with my index finger and say, "That's a steel trap right there. A steel trap." And for most things (except where I left my keys or whether I remembered to turn off the iron), it has been a safe deposit box for all kinds of information. But lately I've been noticing that things are slipping through the cracks.

We recently had a guest at our house. There's nothing remarkable in that fact. We live in Florida. We get lots of guests. Lots. But he had asked about my garden and wanted to know if I grew anything remarkable. My thoughts quickly turned to my pineapples. He asked a number of questions about how they grew, and to illustrate my explanation, I went to my office and pulled down the two photo books that I've made (using Shutterfly) to chronicle what has happened in the garden for the last two years. I knew I had photos of the entire pineapple growth process. So I showed them to him and explained, and when I collected the books to return them to the shelf, I saw a photo on the back of the 2013 journal. It was an early morning shot of the Secret Garden. "Oh," I said, rather surprised. The guest asked what was wrong, and I replied, "Well, I just don't remember it ever looking like this."

You see, a certain website had announced a garden contest last year, and I'm a sucker for contests. The announcement asked readers (I thought) to post photos of their garden spaces that fit into one of several categories. I decided the Secret Garden would work well in the "Garden Rooms" category, so early one morning, I dragged our massive ladder out to the yard and set it up outside the fence that forms the back wall of the garden. I figured an aerial shot would best capture the whole space.

So I entered the contest, and when the winners were revealed, I discovered that they must have really only wanted photos from landscape architects who had designed spaces that cost a minimum of $20,000. Obviously, I did not even place, but that fact did not diminish the high regard I had held for my garden.

And then I clearly forgot about that moment. I suddenly found the garden lacking. And over the winter, when most plants had retreated a bit, I thought it insufficient, which is when I started planning the redesign. I've been implementing that design in the last several weeks. And then I saw that photo of a magical garden that I could not recall. The steel trap had failed, hung open and slack like my mouth did upon realizing the garden was mine.

My garden last year

Listen, the new design will be equally beautiful. It is taking shape. Sometimes it's hard to remember that  something was beautiful and might be again. Sometimes a memory misleads us into thinking that change isn't required. I'm almost certain this change was necessary. I just wish I could have remembered the pride I felt in the garden, remembered that it's always been a pretty special place.

A peak at the garden now from a
different perspective

An old friend watches over the changes

No comments:

Post a Comment