On the eve of the New Year, I always spend time reflecting on the past year, but today I ran across an old photo and I was transported back to an early summer afternoon well over a half-century ago when I was about four years old. My hair was sun-bleached from hours spent outside each day, and my hands were dirty and stained from planting orange tree seeds that never came up and from picking low hanging fruit from the mulberry tree. I ate those berries as I skipped around the garden, hurrying from one plant to another, taking in the fragrance of carnations, wild roses, anise, and parsley. Every minute seemed to bring a new discovery.
I watched butterflies, birds, lizards and even mice, and saw some fairies lurking more than once. I gathered black walnuts in a little tin can, breaking the nuts open with a stone while sitting on a tree stump. After a long, glorious day, I headed back to the house at sundown. As I rounded the corner, my mother snapped this slightly out-of-focus photo of me, now faded in spots by time, but still a reminder to me of that halcyon childhood day.
After spending decades tied up with all the normal events of life; getting educated, married, kids, career, successes, failures, tragedies and triumphs, good times and bad, and finally, retirement, I see I'm back to doing those same garden things I did as a very young child, albeit without the skipping and fairy sightings. I now have time once again to enjoy the wonder of nature, and it still enthralls me. I think I've come full circle.
When I remember by-gone days
I think how evening follows morn
so many I loved were not yet dead
so many I love were not yet born.
~ Ogden Nash