I have a friend with a secret garden.
There is the road with exactly two hills, two waves of pause before the car parks beneath the leafy canopy, spreading shade between the green and blue patches of windy sky. Just below her dune top home, spaced perfectly between the embrace of hello and the wave of goodbye, there waits the delicate path of wander.
Some days she takes me here, opens the seal off the invitation and lets the letter unfold, walking beside me, letting me bathe in the sea of blue lupine currents.
The rain had turned sweet, leaving sugary drops of replenish on each interior vein of life. And his feet chased imagination, following it like a string laid out before a cat, the weave between birch and fern, pulled slug and snail’s retreat.
There are no doors here, in the secret garden, just closed eye entries, the view seen only from the eyes of the heart. This place where things get collected, stored before they become skin and cell, paint and word. Where hidden nest homes hold dream and fertile life wonder, her brown grass in open beak gathering.
And sometimes I wonder if my words will fail, if the pen and the ink, will run together leaving the golden sun stripped of her amber constellation. But hope, she undoes, loosening the knots, tickling the frayed edge strings with her assurance, pulling the seasons of worry apart, the confusion and thick skin doors.
So I enter the secret garden and see the inside of this heart for the very first time, walking her forests, her golden light calm. Her trees lined in quiet surrender to the restless call of the wind.
And he is home here.
Home between the broken limb’s weakness and the shelves of moist fungi under finger. Home inside this open mouth awe, the deep breath hymn for these small hands, pressed together in gratitude.
And this beauty, this beauty left alone, can feel like a glimpse into what we were made to be. A glimpse into a love undeserved yet given.
This place where hurt and worry and the turned corner eyes of doubt lay themselves out over fields of new born growth, the torn bark of shame, the decay of want, somehow becoming part of this secret garden heart landscape, the quiet bent ponder, the fragile dream spun on the stump of regret.
And the clinging, the doubt, the wary step leap, this fear of what may, needs to be shed, left here in the forest to line new paths. Because there is a sweetness underneath, the peeling paint of mistakes made new, fresh wood under bark, new skin feeling the pain more deeply, sustaining sensitivity over hardwood indifference.
Her walls of columbine, her naval orange drip, her beech and birch, oak and thunder, this bark, the tough skin of wisdom and release.
Sometimes all we need is the slow walk, the secret garden walk, to remind our hearts we are already here. There is nowhere to get to, no place to find, only the deep, lupine wave of this secret garden heart, and her golden hour hope, blanketing buried dreams, where the past holds onto summer scent, the green morning dew of goodbyes held too tight.
It is this gentle path back. Back to this place that collects tears in her felted cup veins, where life is found in the dark corners hidden, where a universe of memory and moments stitched between shadows rest in the lonely drop of forgotten rain thirst.
And the places I forgot to water, now thirst for this blue sky wash.
Sometimes I wonder if I live on the edge of this secret garden, scanning it only from the perimeter, peering between the trees, but never fully entering her wide embrace gate.
Because discovery requires risk, the heart peeling at the corners, to become small in this vast treasure of beauty we did not create. To place a shattered heart on the healing bed of the unknown.
So we walk past the bones of comparison, the decay of critique, the death of criticism, into the fragrant hands of Love.
There are still things growing, living there between the rot and the loose soil, the decay, and thorned weed choke.
There is life beneath the passing rust of the brown leaf fall.
Hope is the growth underfoot, cutting paths through this forest heart, the coral lace stem, the spun scent of tulip tree refreshed in a closed eye kiss under a hesitant rain.
And this secret garden heart where the lupine bloom, unseen, where masterpiece is a fallen tear caught between a salty lip, the sound of feet meeting soil, where production has no residence, where imagination plants her seeds under the faithful foot of discovery.
And he finds me again, with a hug he forgot to give me at home, arms pulled around neck, the tiny hairs under a swung ponytail caught between button and sleeve.
“It’s getting dark.”
"Yes. It's getting dark."
But there is always tomorrow.
There is always a tomorrow inside your secret garden heart.