In the early years here, there was more of a hayfield feeling to the gardens than a formal garden feeling. This really wasn’t too much of a surprise, since we built the farmhouse smack dab in the middle of a hayfield.
The Angels and Elementals chose the spot for the farmhouse, and much as the excavator and cement man tried to move the footprint up and away from the chosen spot, circumstances conspired to leave the farmhouse just where the Angels and Elementals wanted it planted.
Receiving further guidance from the Angels and Elementals, I divided the land around the farmhouse into garden rooms and began to plant trees and shrubs to delineate these garden rooms. I bartered my weeding services at a plant nursery in exchange for these early tree and shrub purchases. I learned a lot from the nurserywoman who made this trade with me. She was a bit of an Elemental herself and had a magic way with plants. Her nursery selection was rather unusual, something I didn’t fully appreciate at the time. Now I relish that because of Mrs. Joly I have some lovely, rare specimens. And I am grateful to those brilliant Elemental networkers that brought me to Mrs. Joly’s door.
From our very first season in the gardens together, the Angels and Elementals told me that this day, the Summer Solstice was the big day. Not THEIR big day but THE big day.
The longest day meant the most light in the gardens and the most life force in the earth and plants. But why exactly did this make it the big day?
The Angels and Elementals explained that it was the day in which the partnership between the three kingdoms, Angelic, Elemental and Human and all we could BE together was celebrated. And they noted that it wasn’t so much WHAT we created as that we created it TOGETHER that mattered.
Midsummer’s Night’s Eve. Until I began my life in these gardens working with the Angels and Elementals, I thought this night was a hootenanny for the fairies, and a night in which humans could cheer on the sidelines or risk ending up with a donkey’s head. But here were my Angelic and Elemental friends tell me that this day and night wasn’t about them blowing their own horn separate from people, but instead celebrating and welcoming human community into harmonious creative endeavors with them.
Much as I didn’t believe it, the Angels and Elementals told me again and again, that the thing that mattered on this day was ALL of us.
Back in those beginning years surrounded by tiny trees and young perennials, it was a little hard for me to see that what we were doing was significant. I listened attentively and followed guidance very carefully because I wanted this partnership, but why did it matter? The most beautiful things on Earth seemed to be separate from the creations of man. I loved my Angelic and Elemental friends and I loved Nature, but I felt they could do as well without me.
The Angels and Elementals made it clear this was not the case. They spoke of this often. The partnership was everything.
As we worked together, moments of garden wonder snowballed. The tiny broken Larch tree that six year old Ben planted in the backyard outgrew the splint that held its snapped body straight and soared unexpectedly fast and true to the sky. Vegetables and annuals that I would later learn were tricky to grow grew immense and luxurious. Everything was bigger than life.
In this photo taken this week, Ben’s Larch tree is just to the right of the rising sun.
Somewhere on the website is another photo of a very young Elizabeth holding a head of broccoli about 2 feet in diameter. She doesn’t look very thrilled by the exuberant size of this brassica, but I was. Everything whispered and sometimes even shouted, enjoy this adventure.
Things that went wrong also were revealed as meaningful and important. Oftentimes I was throwing too much of a hissy fit to get the significance of the challenges and defeats when they occurred. But year after year the harvest season gave me the chance to see that I learned as much from the garden disasters as the bumper crops. The bumper crops were just more fun!
Regardless of what went well and what did not, I began to know for myself that the best harvest was the partnership. The working friendship with these joyful, steadfast, humorous and infinitely kind and loving partners was beyond precious. It was a constant and also an evolving deepening experience of oneness.
Thirty years in, the gardens have the mature specimens to celebrate this day and our partnership with spectacular beauty. It is breathtaking to walk in a garden that once upon a time was just twigs in the ground.
I went out at dawn this morning to shout out my thanks. I can never quite believe the glory of Roses on the Solstice, but as I whirled around like Maria Von Trapp ( perhaps with not quite the skirt or the voice), I remembered having the very same feeling of joy when I first walked onto this land and there was no garden at all. There was wholeness and love, unity and wonder in both moments.
I love knowing that even when the garden was only a dream, the partnership mattered as much to the Angels and Elementals as it did to me. I love that for all of us, the Angels and Elementals welcome us deeper into partnership with them, not because of what we can accomplish together (though it is truly amazing), but because we are part of each other. No matter where we are on this precious planet, they want to deepen our experience of oneness with each other.
And no matter the circumstance of any of our lives, coming into deeper community with the Angels and Elementals of Nature is possible. A houseplant lovingly cared for, a tree that receives our love and kindness as we pass it in park or woods, a spontaneous Maria Von Trapp moment of gratitude, any gesture of comradeship and togetherness lifts up ALL of us and our shared world and lights us all up like the rays of the sun on this first most radiant day of summer.