Often a surprise awaits around the bend

Around the bend and down the road, you can see the most amazing things.

Sometimes it’s one of the great trees with a trunk so grand that five people could stand around it, arms outstretched, and their fingertips would barely touch. Sometimes it’s a field strewn with boulders thrown Victoria Torleyfrom a volcano a dozen miles away and now surrounded by wildflowers.

And sometimes it’s a tiny house, a two-room affair, tin-roofed, with a flower garden so well-tended it could be part of a noble estate.

Those are the gardens I adore. They are grown and cared for with
love.  They aren’t there to make an impression, although they do. They are only there because someone has watched over them from seed to blossom. Sometimes they are there in front of the home (the rear is for vegetables, of course) and sometimes they are hidden (the only open land is to the rear), and you will never see them unless you are invited in.

It is the open ones, then, that you see, so bright and cheerful that you have to stop and snap a picture or two. Then, if you are bold enough, you knock on the door and try you halting Spanish on the owner.

My halting Spanish has always been met with a broad smile, even though I can only say, “Su jardin es muy especial, muy bonito.”

This is usually met with a cascade of Spanish to which my only answer is to say, “Mi español es poquito.” More smiles and nods, and I am escorted around the yard with the gardener giving me names and describing things with broad gestures. Bulbs and vines, shrubs and trees, the gardener is proud of them all. I am encouraged to smell this one (heavenly), feel the underside of that leaf (a bit like sandpaper).

There is a lot of color in these gardens and it is all unplanned, natural. No one ever told the gardener that two particular colors clash. and it doesn’t seem to matter. It just seems bold and alive. A few more pictures, and it’s time to go but not before the hostess insists that you take a cutting, some seeds, a flower or two. Sometimes even a seedling already started on its way.

Don’t try to refuse, it would be insulting to say no. Just nod and smile and be on your way. Both your days are brighter now.

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