My summer garden

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As the weather warmed, so did my heart. I felt at peace and had a lack of responsibility that I took for granted. I wanted to get the most out of the all to short nirvana by spending my time in my garden, I liked my personal time there, to be alone with my thoughts and not having to care about anything, which I suppose may have seemed selfish. In the other seasons, my garden was either cold, wet or simply unappealing. But in the summer, it all came to life and a desire grew inside me to meet and greet the new energy flowing out of the plants and animals.

As I strayed from my back door my soul would be overtaken by an assimilating force of warmth, sounds and sights all hitting me like a gust of wind. The corners of my mouth would turn up uncontrollably and I would forget everything. My mind would be intoxicated by the pure nature before me, and I had no desire to damage the boundless balance of the tiny forest. Before me would lie the carpet of grass, usually brown and withered, which would dampen my mood, but this morbid image would never overtake the entire stretch of grass.

The sides of the garden would be lined with plants and flowers as high as me. There was not much variation of colour, but I was content with the lush greens of the large leaves. Overshadowing those were larger trees left to grow at their own will, they obscured the dull fence from sight which I liked; I hated any reminder of humanity whilst I was in my own world of harmonious tranquillity. Birds high pitched and energetic songs would flow to me constantly from the back of the garden, but after a short time they would mean nothing to me.

The warmth and the season seemed to have its own sound or call, softy whispering in my ear that I was welcome, I listened, but never replied. Strangely, hunger and exhaustion seemed to have no effect on me, (until I was reminded by the familiar call of meal times). At the same time my mind would be focused and free, simply absorbing the garden through my senses. Time had no effect or reminder apart from the omnipotent sun sliding across the sky, however I seldom looked upwards, the garden was enough to enrich my mind and feed my imagination.

I wandered out barefoot to feel the warm soil beneath my feet, and I tried to ignore when it was dry and cracked and rubbed against my feet. As I would gaze out at the garden, my mind’s eye would divide it into kingdoms and realms ruled by tiny armies of insects. To my right, where the most light was, there was a large bush twice the height of me, it had little white flowers and at mid day it would be swarming with busy wasps and a few bees. I would be entranced by their single-minded quest of endless journeys to flowers that my mind did not understand or query about.

They didn’t scare me, as they seemed not to notice my actions as the other tiny creatures didn’t, I even have a recollection of eating honey in front of them to taunt them. Their energy confused me, as the heat only made me want to relax. To the left was a realm of constant birth and destruction that fascinated me because of its endless cycle. At the dawn of the month, a dark green plant with large leaves would take over a quarter of the garden but would still be under the enforcing arms of the trees.

In less than a week, the plant would be covered in small caterpillars with grey bodies and black heads. Very rarely, I would see a large, colourful, hairy caterpillar, I wanted so much to feel it, but my granddad’s raspy but kindly voice would echo in my each ‘look, but don’t touch’. The grey caterpillars would number in the hundreds and obliviously desecrate the plant in less than two weeks. Within another week the garden would be swarming with yellow butterflies, but at that age, I did not understand the connection and just perceived it as a natural beautiful cycle.

As soon as it was over, I would look forward to seeing it the next year. Never at any other time during the year did I see any such natural process that seemed to put down technology as I knew it, and I liked it. At the bottom of the garden was a dark place, it did not scare me however, it was just uninviting. There was an area of very thin trees with thick leaves that the light could not penetrate, and the ground was covered in dead leaves and sharp twigs, and I would not put my shoes on just to venture in.

If it did not want me there, I felt there was no need to. I also had a habit of turning over rocks to see if there was anything of interest besides the usual worms, and ants. Occasionally I would see a millipede, centipede or a colourful beetle, but only rarely. These creatures would remind me of the significance of the season and the life it brought. When I was in my garden alone, I felt in control, not as if the world revolved around me, but as if I was omnipresent, and nothing could see me or affect me, as if were a silent observer; complete freedom.

I would go back indoors for dinner, and not go back outside that day, however I would watch from the window for a while, and see the sunset colours fill the garden and set it to sleep. The garden at night would be reminiscent of the other, less appealing seasons, of which the only memory I had was how wet, cold and dark it was compared to the summer, but in my heart I knew they weren’t that bad. When I slept I imagined the garden did, but more peacefully in the summer, because of the lack of wind and warmth, and that thought made me sleep easier.

The summer was always a special time for me, but as a child I was scared it might forget to show up the next year. Every year it was wonderfully different but familiar. But as I matured, it lost its naturalistic mystery and I was just glad for the weather. But I still remember the way my eyes lit up with wonder at the simplest things and how I could watch an insect do barely anything for twenty minutes. I miss how I could be easily mystified and impressed, and now the season I knew has changed in my mind, but is still the same in my heart.

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