Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Writing Prompts: Part 2
Today's prompt: The garden was overgrown now.
The garden was overgrown now, untended by anything but nature and time. Its paver paths, once maintained in such a meticulous manner that a blade of grass would not dare grow too close to their boundaries, were now overrun by moss, grass and debris. Looking at it struck me as a metaphor for the lives of those who once spent their time here. When we stop showing love to the things we care about, they quickly become unkempt and show signs of neglect. I sat on a wrought iron bench, my toes scuffing the edge of the path, clearing away a fraction of the moss to reveal smooth stone beneath. My fingers brushed the soft petals of a wildflower that had pushed its way through the intricate curlicues of the seat as it pushed its way skyward, seeking to gain more affection from the sun than its fellow flowers. Maybe I was the wildflower. The strong survive when they are willing to push themselves skyward despite the iron hard obstacles. I laughed at myself and my newfound philosophical nature. Maybe sometimes a flower is just a fucking flower, and I'm just myself.
The last time I was in that garden, I was fourteen. It was summer, but the curtain of oppressive heat never fell that year, and we found even midday outdoors to be perfectly enjoyable. The entire estate was manicured perfectly, not a flower out of place, not a weed to be seen, not a blade of grass too long. It was fragrant, with bees humming occasionally nearby as the sun filtered through the trees to dapple the lawn below. Everything was exactly as my grandmother mandated it should be, perfection even under her sharp scrutiny. My grandmother never could tolerate anything but perfection, as I was all too well aware. I would not have been surprised if she lined up the bees each morning and dictated to them which flowers they should and should not visit as they set out to work that day. She was from another time, when the perfection of a garden reflected so much more than the ability to hire a skilled gardener. She clung to her traditions and sense of normalcy with fierce determination as the world around her refused to heed her commands to remain familiar. Each summer I spent with her was like a walk through the past, where I could easily imagine my mother's childhood. Nothing changed, not here. It did change, though, eventually. When the money was gone, and the despair set in, the change became inevitable. The staff were let go one by one, though the gardener was the last to go. Then there was nothing. No more parties. No more entertainments. No more pristine paths to wander in the afternoon hours. All that was left was a shell of an estate, and the shells of those who had once been so happy in it. A graveyard of dreams, that's what this garden had become. And yet, there were still flowers who pushed forward, determined to carry on.
Ran of of steam. That's all you get.