It was one of those days when naptime wasn’t going to happen for my big girl, quiet time seemed to be a washout as well. I closed the computer down, made us some tea and we sat on the front porch. Sometimes, we both need to be quiet and to talk together. I sipped my tea and listen to her tell me all about the story she was living in, the porch became a ship, a car, a stage to sing and dance on and she sipped her tea between scenes.
She picked some roses and then chatted with our older neighbor who was making his way up the stairs. He’s in his nineties and one of the nicest old men you could know. We chatted about the weather, my children and his great grand children. A conversation led to an introduction to a friend of his which led to an invitation to visit their garden.
The garden just down the road that I often walk slowly by, imagining what it looks like beyond the hedges, and inside the yellow front door. The girls and I visited the garden, one evening before bed. We sometimes do things like that, instead of an evening bath, we visit gardens. It’s not ‘proper’ but it is soul-refreshing.
We followed the paths, cracked open the gate and stepped into what I am sure is some kind of Secret Garden. The paths are overgrown in some parts, small blooms peeking through much overgrowth. There is a beautiful rose trellis that compares with the arbor at Larnach Castle in New Zealand. There are little paths running everywhere, ancient fountains and hidden arbors.
It wouldn’t win any prizes in Home and Gardens for being perfectly manicured but there’s a grape vine with baby grapes ready for harvesting in a month and a hedge of the most fragrant roses.
There’s a sign that tells the names of all those who have lived in the house and tended the gardens. I wiped a tear for the Acadians who lived there, and wondered which plants had been their favourites.
We walked home quietly, the girls went to sleep and I made another cup of tea. And determined to take my tea on the porch more often, to stop and say hello to these dear people who just look old, but really they’re just like me.
How do you get to know your neighbors?