Wednesday, August 13, 2014

There Once Was A Man Who Worked And Rested Under A Mocking Bird Tree

This is a story about Sgt. Gary Taylor.  We've come to know Mr. Gary over the past few years, while staying up north during Siri's medical trips.  His beautiful wife Maria, is the night manager at the house where we stay.  Maria and Gary live in a two bedroom, on-site apartment that comes with her job. 
Mr. Gary collects books and T-shirts.  When I asked him if it would be okay to take his photo and write a post on his garden he said, "oh I guess that'd be alright"...something he says, and then assured me he does not get on the computer, and that the computer is Maria's thing.   When Mr. Gary laughs, it is a literal hee hee hee of sorts.  He tells stories about growing up in Louisiana, his trucking days, and his adventures working as a Sargent in Penn Station.  He retired last spring.  He loves his children, spending his weekends with them, and dotes on his wife Maria.  He refers to life at the house (where he and Maria live, and where we stay) "the life of abundance"...usually he says this as he's preparing to eat something yummy from the kitchen, which is regularly filled with yummy somethings.

Although Gary and Maria have their own apartment, they are often around the house.  Community living has a few positive aspects, but you's community living.  One of the ways Gary invests his time at the house, while also creating his own private space, is creating and maintaining his garden.  There are beautiful flowers all around the house and he helps with those sometimes too I believe, but there's a special little place you can almost be sure to find him working.  He calls it his serenity garden.  The rest of us call it "Gary's garden".  You do not mess with Gary's garden.  And not because he asks you not to's just a known's Gary's place.  So when he gives permission to cut a few roses for a tea, or for the children to pick the berries, or when he gives a little tour, it is not to be taken for granted.  In some ways entering his garden feels like what I'd imagine entering a secret garden might feel like.  quiet and sacred...something of magicalness.

Here are photos captured of Gary's serenity garden, as well as some of the flowers on house property. My cell phone is a pay-as-you-go type, and the camera is apparently not so hot at taking garden photos, but I hope you can find the beauty in them, as I did in taking them. The berries were the most prolific during our stay there, but the mocking birds quickly ate what the kids didn't.
Here is what Gary calls "the mocking bird tree", which is full of mocking birds.  When I would look at it to take a picture, I could see them, but cannot find one mocking bird on these photos. How is that possible?  They must be magical mocking birds.  So just know, there are lots of mocking birds and this is a mocking bird tree.
Here you can see Gary's private spot in the center of the garden, underneath the mocking bird tree.
This is the fox tail he hung on the mocking bird tree.  He wanted me to know he didn't kill the fox.  He found it and thought this would be a place to put it.  "Don't ask me why," he said, which is another something he says.
"Don't ask me why I have these bowling balls here," he said.
I didn't ask him.

Lamb's ear is one of my favorites.  Touching it makes me sleepy.  I could sleep with it instead of a stuffed armadillo.
I may have fallen in love with this particular shrub while there this summer, although I'm not sure what it is.  It's not within the perimeters of Gary's garden, or I'm sure he would've known.  Do you know what this is called?  The leaves were a dark greenish color on the bottom and the tops grew into this majestic reddish purple.  They worked well used as a base for flower arranging.
Here are some branches of it, as well as a few other flowers from around the house, quickly put together for a simple, afternoon tea.
I very much enjoy friends and afternoon teas.

This gazebo is off to the right of Gary's garden.
The master gardeners come in the spring to maintain the little garden surrounding the gazebo.
These children guard the gazebo door.  They remind me of the episode, season one I think, of Once, when Rumple turned those two adults into little doll people.  That was a creepy one for sure.  turning humans into little dolls.  
This boy was saying "I don't care...go ahead. Try turning me into a statue...whatever."  And the girl was being all hands in her pockets, chill about it, too.  and then bam!  turned into garden statues.  no going back now.  no. going. back.  This is a lesson for all the little children with an "I don't care" attitude.  If the "I don't care" fairy hears you, you don't get a second chance.

Finally, my favorite from this garden shoot.  The simplicity and colors are stunning.
Again I find an example in Gary, accepting where he's been placed for now (he dreams of returning to his home on the bayou), and in that, creating a space for quiet and peace...a garden to rest and to work and to think.  A place of beauty to hang up a fox tail, set out a few bowling balls, drink a cup of coffee, and call it his own.

The many blackberries in his garden this summer kept one of my all time favorite quotes ripe in my thoughts...
"Earth's crammed with heaven, 

And every common bush afire with God; 

But only he who sees, takes off his shoes, 

The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries, 

And daub their natural faces unaware."


How are you seeing your today world beautiful?

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely place of respite.....not only for Gary but for you, Siri, and all who enter in. You are kind to share it with us.


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