DSCF8634This summer I decided to create a specific place in my garden where I could go and put aside the constant rush to project myself into the future. It would be a touchstone to remind me to stop, breathe, live in that specific moment, and the next, and the next.

It began life as an herb garden more than a decade ago in my first vigorous flush of gardening when we moved out of the city. I had dreamed of pebble paths and demarcations of boxwood and stone. Each quadrant was to be like a painting of a medieval apothecary garden, simple but potent and filled with thyme and sage and mint).

For a few years I diligently tended the paths and herb beds. But the woods were always trying to reclaim their birthright, and the giant black walnut in the middle of the yard spread its shade and toxic roots far and wide. Four beds became three, then two as the wild bergamot and dame’s rocket overran the oregano and parsley.

Still the bones of the herb garden remained, anchored by a granite sculpture at its center—the result of a rash bid at a silent auction. I often found myself gravitating to this spot, ambulating in figure eights around the boxwoods, letting the stresses of the day leave my body. Or sitting on the sun-warmed limestone pavers, listening to the orchestra of birds and insects. Eyes closed, breathing in the scent of phlox reminded me to revel in the moment and let myself sink into the fabric of the natural world around me.

So this fall I took clippers and a shovel to the unruly tangle of weeds, planted a few more boxwoods to mark the boundaries from the encroaching woodland, and repurposed some broken pavers. The soft days of autumn sunshine and rain coaxed a haze of green from the newly sown grass seed.

Now, even on the coldest days, when the sun barely skims the treetops, I bask in a spot of afternoon sunshine, drawing strength and peace from my grounding place.


18 thoughts on “THE HEALING PLACE

  1. Murtagh's Meadow

    I really like that granite sculpture. It is important to have a space to go to to unwind, and this looks like a lovely space.

    1. Melissa Shaw-Smith Post author

      Thanks, Karina. The stone has begun to weather nicely–lichen and moss are colonizing it. It reminds me of a wonderful standing stone that’s in the field in front of my grandmother’s house in Connemara.

    1. Melissa Shaw-Smith Post author

      I love our wild woods too. But when I only have a few moments to slip outside, it’s nice to have a little spot close to the house. Not very grand, but it does the trick! Enjoy your walks in the woods. Best, Melissa

      1. Curt Mekemson

        Sometimes, looking out the window does the trick for me. Having lived far too long in an urban setting, I wake up with a smile on my face every morning. –Curt

  2. aussiebirder

    So important Melissa that you reclaimed your place of solitude and restoration, we all need one like this. It is a great blessing to have a place where we can go and find tranquility and peace of soul and mind and spirit. Thanks for sharing this with us, it is an important milestone in our lives when we reclaim what is stolen from us or reclaim what we have allowed to disintegrate, and dishevel. This marks a growth for you and enrichment in your life journey my kindred hearted friend:-)

  3. Argus

    To sit, lie back against that stone and clear your mind for a while … I use pine trees to that effect and even have a favourite—

    “Eek! Argus—how come you’re all over sticky? Have you been hugging that tree again?”
    “Mutter mutter mutter …”

  4. Virginia Duran

    Love the idea! I don’t have a garden at home but I may have a specific area to do this! Love your garden and hope you find peace on the little (maybe not so little) stone of yours 🙂

    1. Melissa Shaw-Smith Post author

      Thanks, Virginia. Really, a park bench, a shady tree, anywhere you can sit and let the senses go to work does the trick!

    1. Melissa Shaw-Smith Post author

      Thanks, Roger. Wishing you many happy hours in the coming year on Rabbit Lane. Best, Melissa


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