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Gairdín Síocháin (short story)


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Title is Gaelic for Garden Peace, written for my college writing class. Based on the gardens that fill my backyard.

Gairdín Síocháin


Mike R. Smale

© 2005

Beyond the motley passage of nodding lilies that greet me with their sharp aroma, against the worn, grey fence on the property line, lies a shrine built of flower blossoms. I come to the edge, where the temple begins, dotted with roses of every red, white and green they can present themselves in, the natural perfume enwraps me along with the cool, moist air of the freshly watered soil. The cedar floor of mulch welcomes me as I enter up the flagstone lane leading to the bench where two roses climb its archway sides and I sit. Here I am able to release myself surrounded in pure tranquility.

Within the solitude I absorb all that is around me. Silence spreads itself over this garden as the mulch that covers its floor, broken only by the slight whine of a passing mosquito after it has left an irritated lump upon my exposed arm. The smell of the water is draped thickly across the ornate landscape, interrupted occasionally by the few large, grey and brown boulders. Angelic statuary looks back at me, like a guardian force protecting this sacred place.

An orchestra of flavors and soothing sounds fill the air. A faintly bitter taste of pollen lingers in the back of my throat, instigating a subtle cough into the hot, clammy air. The placid song of wind chimes ruptures the serenity as a warm gust of summer air kisses my face tentatively before moving onward. Then, a sudden pang meets my leg as another mosquito flies into the canopy of overlooking trees behind the dull, old fence.

I can hear the cry of my muse amongst the flora, as if the statues of the angels had begun to converse with me. The pains of heartache release their grip upon my core and I am free. Free amongst all the thriving vegetation, some of their petals scattering into the sky with another gust of the sour, muggy wind. I stand from the bench and venture into the garden, a slight pain in my left calf as I brush too close to a rose, and a light red and prickly scratch takes shape. The stone eyes of the angels seem to look at me, as if laughing at my maladroit movement throughout their home, and I begin to laugh with them.

The calming, crisp sent of pine enters my nostrils as I near the towering fir tree, thick and green on the front, yet stripped, hard and dead on its rear from a lack of proper sunlight. My heart feels like that backside so many times, but it is here that I am renewed and can overcome the pains of everyday demands and be reborn like the searing phoenix. I am full of life akin to the aging pine's visage.

The cool and fading sheath of evening is slowly draped over the garden. The mosaic skyline emulates my surrounds with the yellows, reds, and indigos all waltzing into the dimming sky with scattered stars. The constellations, imitating a fathomless painting that has begun to wear and peel in intricate shapes. Leisurely, the solar lights planted alongside the foliage begin to flicker on in their faint blue, icy glow. Reminding me that there is always an optimistic beam in every shady time, upon the deteriorating canvas of unhappiness.

Luna emerges into the firmament, her light dancing across the earth, docile and warmed only by the summer air. The silver rays descend through the air and fall upon the sodden ground, enswathing the closed flowers, and myself in their silken webs. Swimming in the lunar mesh are the fireflies, like minuscule lighthouses flashing in a numinous beat to the wail of a distant night bird. The mildly chilly air whips past, pinching at my body along with even more mosquitoes, branding my arms and legs again, leaving behind more of the inflamed welts. I decide to retire to my home and gradually make my way back, past the now shut lilies still bobbing in the darkness with each breath of fresh, twilight air.

Walking back, I remember how this garden appeared scarcely a year ago, a barren and muddy slab of land. Only the smell of decaying leaves from previous autumns twirled about in the atmosphere. The only colors decorating the sickly brown landscape was the occasional weed or strangling vine, slithering down from the canopy of young maples and towards the fence. Now, with the passing of spring to summer, I can barely recall that wasteland. Refurbished as I have been through the harmony that I have found in this plot of ground.

I come here to drop my sorrows in exchange for the vigor found within the setting of luscious roses and playful cherubs, a baptism in all that is natural. This is where I go to find God.

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