1 year ago
Monday, August 9, 2010
Magpie Tales: Beyond the Walls
Bending at the waist he plucked a weed from a patch of ashes of rose flowers. As he stood up, his rheumy eyes met clear baby blues and for a moment the two locked into a surprise stare. She broke the moment with a wave of her hand and an upturned smile. "May I come in?" she asked without hesitating.
Slowly, he shuffled over to the wall, patting his white hair down with one blue-veined hand, and straightening himself to his full 6 feet height. A gentleman always looked presentable.
"I walk by your garden every day on my way to work." she explained smiling soft and friendly, 'and well....I thought since I saw someone in the garden that perhaps you wouldn't mind if I...."
The old man suddenly realized he was still holding the weed in one hand and gave it a quick toss. "Well, I don’t know. I don't often have guests in my garden."
"It's so lovely, so....pink." she added with a flourish of her hand.
The old man pondered her face and saw a kindness too often lacking in the people who hurried by his wall, hands clenched in tight fists pumping to a beat from headphones that looked like two black donuts. "There’s a gate on the other side," he said turning and walking away from the wall.
Magritte found the gate and opened the black iron latch that held it closed. There was no flowery sign that welcomed visitors to the garden, no cute little cement rabbits, fairies or gnomes to greet passersby, and no gazing balls to mesmerize children. What she discovered was a serene coolness beneath ancient trees surrounded by pink flowers. Spent peonies gave way to hydrangeas that yielded to pink annuals of all shapes and textures. Spring-green ferns softened the edges and everywhere, climbing, crawling, and standing were luscious pink rose petals swirling around high points. Roses, in every shade of pink imaginable from the palest to the deepest, grew in joyous abandon inside the walled garden. Her breath caught in her throat as she took it all in....the beauty and gentle sweetness of the variation on a hue.
A sculpture of a weeping woman seated on a bench overlooked the walled backyard turned garden with a vacant stare. Tears, exquisitely sculpted on bronzed cheeks, caught tiny glimmers of light as a hand, lying in her lap, clutched a bouquet of freshly picked flowers. At her bare feet grew a profusion of pink Damask roses, the scent rising with the heat. "What a beautiful sculpture," murmured Magritte.
The man smiled, but offered no explanation of how such a sublime work of art came to be in his garden.
One turn around the garden and then he suggested she come back another time for a visit and perhaps tea. "Do you drink tea?" he inquired. She nodded as he opened the gate.
"Thank you for letting me visit your...." She began, but he was all ready walking down the flagstone path to the garden.
As she continued on her way home, she realized she'd forgotten to ask him about the watering can on the wall. With a smile, she decided that the watering can would be a perfect tea-time tale and she looked forward to the telling.
Written for Magpie Tales inspired by the watering can photo at the top.