A Garden’s Memory

Garden MemoriesMy time in the garden is often solitary, but as I focus on a task, my head is filled with whispers. The conversation comes, unbidden — triggered by a sound, a scent or a flower.

The garden is where I reconnect with people dear to me and sometimes long gone. Whenever I see the grapes growing on my arbor, my grandfather laughs with me, his blue eyes twinkling. He presses the grapes with a wooden hand press, and then patiently goes through the long process of making wonderful wine.

I won’t know just how wonderful until I come back as an adult years later and get to have a taste. As kids, we got to have “must,”” the lightly carbonated grape juice pulled just before the rest was poured into casks in the rocky, hand-built wine cellar.

He comes back by my side when I pick raspberries, the memory of our raspberry patch in Harmonia, Slovakia, still clear in my mind.

Garden Memory
(Photo courtesy Luba Fetterman)

A rock garden, filled with succulents, calls back my wonderful grandmother and my aunt. Both loved the details and intricacies of these alpine gems.

Plums trigger thoughts of food, comfort and long summers at the cottage in Harmonia. Grandmother making plum dumplings over her wood cook stove in our sun-drenched veranda.

And currants. Can’t forget currants and the endless hours spent picking these tiny, tart, annoying clusters of translucent red berries. Such a tedious chore for kids who barely ever wanted to eat any! They ended up in currant wine, enjoyed only by the adults.

A simple flower reminds me of a dear client, just recently passed away, and the fondness she had for the unpretentious cottage garden bouquet I brought her. Life is not fair, she said, not nearly ready to leave, with so much left to do.

I am so thankful for the times I get to visit with my family and friends, long gone from daily life, but always so close when my mind is quiet enough, and my senses open enough, to invite them in.