This post is written in response to a prompt on a website I love: RemembeRED. The prompt was a photo prompt of a garden hose.
Laughter rises in the air as happy accented voices intermingle behind me. The rooms are cooler than our house at home, their walls bursting with too many things for me to take in at once. My fascination has my mouth slightly opened as I walk slowly, my eyes scanning each inch of space. It’s all foreign to me, foreign and fascinating. It’s all a part of who I am.
How have I lived 12 years and never known that a part of me was half way around the world? I have known the people who are here, I’ve met at my home on visits…but this…this is REAL. This is my father’s childhood home.
Apprehensively I continue down a shadowed corridor where the sunlight doesn’t reach. I am absorbed by the feel of the thick wallpaper on my fingertips, had my Father touched these walls as a child? Did his feet walk upon this faded rug? Were the pictures on the wall back then?
The happy voices remain behind me and my courage to explore builds. At the end of the corridor is sunlight streaming in from a doorway which is my destination. As I cross the threshold of it I am blinded by the sun and I close my eyes to adjust to the brightness.
As I open them I am met by a glorious sight, a vision of rich color which confuses me. My hand instinctively reaches out for balance and falls upon the warm stone of the house as my brain takes a moment to register it all.
Opening my eyes greenery and blooms abound in front of me in a spectacle of life, this was what I’d seen in books, and it amazes! As I stand absorbed in the spectacle of this English garden I feel a gentle hand on my shoulder. Turning my head quickly I am greeted by my Grandfather’s quiet smile.
“Lovely isn’t it?” he asks me.
Confusion written upon my face I ask “But how?”
“Come with me” he said and envelopes my small hand in his, guiding me into the garden.
My Grandfather leads me upon a flagstone path to the ancient shed, reaches out and lifts a garden hose from its resting place.
Placing the cold wet hose into my hand he says “With time, love, and nourishment anything can grow”.
In that moment I pondered the time it must have taken to breathe life into this garden and the love which must have encouraged the effort.
That day became my first memory of my quiet Grandfather which is relived each time my fingers touch a garden hose.
I thought this was beautiful. I love that your grandfather was able to teach you a valuable lesson even though he wasn't someone you were able to spend a lot of time with (I'm assuming of course).I'm not good at constructive criticism for writing, but my advice would be to left justify your post instead of centering. It is just my personal preference to read that way.
This is beautiful! I could picture the garden.
I loved the exploration of your father's childhood footsteps. The darkness of the hallway contrasted with the brightness of your grandfather's love and the amazing hidden garden gem, and the warm stone were all such nice moments.
Debra Ann Elliott says
Awwwwwwwww!! Loved it Julie – we were both led to a memory of our Grandfather from the image of the hose.Awesome!~d
Beautiful! I hope you become the gardener your grandfather was, plants are not the only thing which needs, time, love and nourishment to grow.
No. 7 says
Stunning. I could read this again and again. Thank you for sharing. I wrote of my own garden memories and my uncle. This really spoke to me.
A garden takes a lot of love.
Truly beautiful. So soft and a perfect flow. Love.
Mary Patricia Bird says
Beautifully written, Julie.
Just beautiful! I cannot even find better words for it.
Sober Julie says
Thank you all for your comments, the feeback is inspiring indeed. I didn't get to see my Grandfather often, about every 3 years for a week at a time. He as a quiet man and spoke few words. I suppose it was his eyes which drew me to him, their warmth.
This is beautiful! As someone who is an absolute klutz at gardening, I so admire the patience and dedication that gardeners show.
Andrea (ace1028) says
This is so beautiful! SO perfect at capturing the moment and the memory. I love it. I don't really know what else to say. It's so fantastic, the words, the entire feeling. I do wonder where you were, though. Where are you that you're halfway around the world from where you live? I want a little bit more of your story. No, I want a lot more of it!I have one critique. This line, "I am blinded by the sun" — you just mentioned sunlight, so I think you can just say I am blinded, and that would be enough. I'm kind of anal that way, though, when it comes to repeating words shortly after they were initially used. Just figured I'd offer it up. Great post. Thanks for sharing your memory with us!
le Chef says
"How have I lived 12 years and never known that a part of me was half way around the world?"Wow. This took me back, except I was mid-20's and in Germany. I distinctly remember the moment I felt this very way. Now, whenever I see a red tile roof I am reminded… thank you.
This is truly beautiful. What a wonderful memory and put so delicately into words!
Jules i love your writing. Thank you for making me think of Granddad today — his garden and greenhouse, the veggies he proudly cooked. I can almost taste the greens .. funny i don't think much of cooked greens today but the ones from his garden i always liked – probably because of the love they were grown with came through in their taste.
Galit Breen says
This was such a thoughtful, reflective post. I was really taken back with you and the importance of the moment is clear.I really adored this line: "a vision of rich color which confuses me" because of the poetic wording and because it urged me forward- I had to find out what you learned!
Sober Julie says
aww shucks, thank you again everyone!My Grandparents lived in Kent, England and we saw there every 3 years for a few weeks. My Grandfather was much quieter than my Nanny ;)But his quiet smile and friendly blue eyes are foever in my heart.
I was so captured by your descriptions! When you walked into the garden, I lost my breath for a moment. And what a special connection between you and your grandfather was made that day.Well done.