I live in Central Florida and the weeds we call a lawn are hard to keep alive and ugly at best, patches of brown insect ridden thatch at worse. One particular corner of my yard is home to a magnificent magnolia whose shade prevents most anything else from growing there. Over a lunch my bride Teresa and I came up with a plan to tear out dead grass and bushes and build a flagstone patio and a waterfall. We visited stone stores, pond stores and garden stores to find out what we were in for and one day we had a truck show up with 3 tons of stone and 4 tons of sand.
The patio work went well, we built a beautiful place that reminds us of the patio at a villa we’ve rented in Italy. The waterfall was a bit more of a challenge but is a beautiful place to lay in our new hammock and listen to the water run and the wind chimes sing overhead.
We had stone left over, so I hired a couple of guys from Craig’s List to dig up the rest of the back yard’s thatch and I built flagstone walkways and framed some flower gardens with landscape timbers. We have a tropical garden (a replica of one at the resort we recently visited in Costa Rica), a wildflower garden, an evening (white) garden to watch the sunsets, a Zen garden, a cutting flower garden and a vegetable and herb garden. Our masterpiece is a butterfly garden, a beautiful area that is already attracting some little winged creatures.
Along the way, something surprising happened to me. I became a gardener. I hadn’t planned ahead to become a gardener, but I listened to the Inspiration that came from Angels and I have found something that makes me very happy. And that’s why I am telling you this story. Not only did this creative project require planning, it also taught me a lesson about life and showed me that I have actually acquired a little wisdom. Building something out of stone signifies permanence; it suggests that you might be building something that lasts longer than you will. It made me wonder if the people who live in this house in fifty years will wonder who laid the patio, who planted the trees that are now so tall, who put the stone bench in just the right place to see the sunset. Planting plants reminds you that life is about renewal and growth; that the same grace that keeps these plants alive might be the same force that keeps me growing too. Saying yes to inspiration is a pretty good idea too.
Being a gardener has helped me to put life in perspective, it helps me to focus on the long term, to understand that we are building something with our lives, not just surviving. While many people find inspiration like this in scripture verses, I have always found it by dealing directly with God, in the field. His grace is everywhere; all you have to do is remember to look.