Daily Prompt: Turn to your co-workers, kids, Facebook friends, family — anyone who’s accessible — and ask them to suggest an article, an adjective, and a noun. There’s your post title! Now write.
Since I am home alone most of the day, I had to ask for input for the Daily Prompt from my friends on Facebook, and I realized just how eclectic, smart and delightfully twisted my friends are. Not only did I get words like “craven”, I also got what is perhaps the greatest Facebook comment ever made. Ever:
I asked my staff to help. I said give me an adjective to describe yourself. From them I got “Jittery” (Obviously too much coffee) “Bloated” (Didn’t ask) and “Flatulent”. I have since decided to leave early for court . . .
Bless your heart. I had no idea lawyers were so funny.
Back to business. The word craven immediately made me think of Lord Archibald Craven in “The Secret Garden”. But since it’s used here as an adjective and not a great character in literature, I had to look it up.
It means “cowardly”.
It really does describe Lord Craven. He is a coward, trapped by his own fears in a cold and lonely world of his own creation. He is so afraid of having a crippled son that his fear turns the boy into an invalid; he is so afraid of losing another loved one that he won’t allow himself to love anyone at all. He is distant and terribly alone, all because of his fears.
If you aren’t familiar with the book, it’s the story of Mary, a young orphaned girl who is forced to move from her luxurious home in India to her uncle’s lonely manor in England. Like her uncle, Lord Craven, she is withdrawn and cold, starved for any kind of affection. She “adopts” an old, abandoned garden and as the plants grow and blossom, so does Mary—and so does everyone around her.
It’s a story of growth and healing, of the strength of the human spirit if only it is properly tended.
Every year, when I planted my garden, I thought of Mary asking, “Please, sir, may I have a bit of Earth?” And I’d smile and tell myself that I read too much, and to shut up and water the damn plants.
Two years ago, I didn’t get my garden planted because of my car accident. I was in the hospital when I should have been turning the soil, in a brace when I should have been weeding, feeling sorry for myself when I should have been harvesting. I didn’t get it done last year, either; the physical work was just too hard. Too overwhelming.
I’ve been a craven fool, a coward, so afraid of pain that I’ve given up. I stopped gardening, swimming, walking the KalHaven Trail, playing outside with my kids. I let my fear of getting hurt again stop my healing. I’ve let my spirit die alongside my garden.
My little garden sits there, untended, overgrown, abandoned. Just like Mary’s garden when she first discovered it.
The Big Guy says we don’t need to plant the garden this year. We can buy our tomatoes and cucumbers and green beans without all of the back-breaking work. He knows I’m scared, and he knows the work will be hard, and he wants to keep me safe.
But he never read “The Secret Garden.”
He doesn’t understand that gardening isn’t about the harvest. It’s about the growth.