In Wales, they say you should water gardens with blood if you want to see a truly spectacular garden. That’s why all the famous faery gardens are so full of abundance – the Island of Shalott, and the Isle of Avalon, where willow and apple trees grow in profusion.
Whether the faery gardens are real or not, the truth of this old wisdom is evident in the ancient graveyards around Great Britain, teeming green with ivy, nettle, oak and rose, and a plethora of other vibrant, beautiful wild flowers. Entire mausoleums get lost in the winding filigree of climbing honeysuckle and clematis, and enormous granite headstones crack and break under the weight of a hundred thousand daisies.
Growing up I learned that if you place seeds under a body when you bury it in the earth, you won’t see those seeds grow in that first year. However, in the second year, you will not only see them grow – you will see them flower as you’ve never seen them before. Sunflowers will shoot through the soil to heights you couldn’t have imagined. Roses will blossom in colors you only dreamed. We buried all our pets in our gardens as children, and we knew somehow that this was just the way life was. Everything dies, and everything gives back to life.
As an adult, I like to believe this is true not only for gardens, but for ourselves. I like to believe that the worst thing in the world can happen, and that maybe tomorrow nothing will grow. Maybe nothing will grow for a whole year. But then next spring, I’m going to see those flowers shoot out of the ground like nothing I’ve ever seen. I’m going to see the seeds that were sown and watered in sadness blossom in ways I can’t yet imagine.
I like to believe that the worst thing in the world can happen; but it will only take a couple of years to turn the death of who I was into something beautiful.
It only takes a couple of years.
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