I step through the garden gate, a long, incredible week behind me. I take a deep breath of the warm, sweet air. A gold-breasted finch darts from the bubbling fountain as though I interrupted its bath. The tiny, swift bird sweeps into the greenery, and I smile as I soak in the delightful scene before me. Pup has appeared, his copper coat glistening in the early evening sunlight, and his tail wags in joyful welcome. He saunters over to me, sniffing to learn where I’ve been and who I’ve seen. He allows me to rub his head and kiss his nose, but he soon meanders off to settle in a sunny, peaceful spot. I feel the tranquil bliss of this garden space, and I want to curl up for a spell, but I’ve a busy evening ahead. Still, I know I have enough time to cherish the beauty that waits here for me. I notice the deep yellow fruits hanging heavily from the arching branches of the lemon trees. I move closer to peer at the bounty of fragrant white blossoms that promise more fruit to come. I notice an unfamiliar scent that brings a heavy, intoxicatingly sweet balm to the air. Thinking of Pup and his scent-tracking ways, I follow my nose to discover the source of the delicious aroma. It is only moments before I am led to the young orange tree that exploded with blossoms only a few weeks ago. Those very blossoms, so unassuming and still in the cooler weather, have now burst forth with the most exquisite of perfumes. The precious tree, not even as tall as me, is covered with hundreds and hundreds of wildly fragrant blooms. I carefully nuzzle my face close to the leaves and blossoms, and I smile. Life is filled with moment after moment of sweet discovery, and I am filled with awe at the blissful perfection. The buzz of bees calls me out of my reverie. Not far from where I stand, a bevy of bees move in and out of clusters of lavender. I move closer to watch their graceful dance. Here is the ballet of life at my very fingertips.
Thoughts of this evening’s birthday party nudge me. I must get ready, yet I am hesitant to leave the sweetness of this moment. I want to be here, yet I also want to go to celebrate my friend. I turn to leave, grateful for the warmth of the sun upon my shoulders. As if offering a message, a gentle breeze brings the calming notes of lavender to me. Although my friend’s birthday gift is wrapped and ready, bouquets of fresh, fragrant lavender will be a lovely addition. I smile and disappear through the side door, reappearing with garden shears in my hands and a broad grin upon my face. With delight, I snip stalks carefully and thoughtfully. The bees carry on, seeming not to mind my presence. They continue their delicate, studious ballet as my shears snip-snip-snip my gift-to-be. I will take a bit of my garden with me this evening. I will share these treasures, and I will smile abundantly and gratefully.
I am home, and the delightful birthday celebration is a sweet, cherished memory. Hands held, cheeks kissed, and abundant food shared. Stories told, laughter wafting, and eyes loving. Gifts opened, glasses clinking, and blessings said. Friendships, I think to myself, are the orange blossoms of life. They appear from nowhere, they call to us, and—if we are wise and fortunate—we bury our heads in their sweet offerings. I open the garden gate and pause to notice the cool air upon my shoulders. Bare remnants of the sweet, heavy scents linger in the air, and I am bathed in quiet. I move forward, and the gate clinks behind me, a reminder of this cherished, sacred space.
My eyes are tired, and I feel the call of sleep. A dear friend calls to tell me that I must not miss the pink moon rising in the sky. Sleep must wait when the moon calls. I drive to the top of the hillside, and I find her, the blushing moon. She is magnificently luminous and full in the velvety night sky. I park and wait to feel her pull, her presence. She is rising slowly and gloriously, this softly pink springtime moon. There is a calm sweetness in this moment, and I am overwhelmed by emotion. I allow the flood of sensations to flow through me, and I wonder at the cause.
Within moments thoughts are spiraling through me. I feel a shift as snippets of memories from the past two weeks cascade through my mind. Normally, I purposefully avoid situations where cruelty and malice run high, yet my presence was necessary in a realm that is unfamiliar and challenging for me. I allow myself to step back in time to reflect on the stream of memories and sensations. Thoughts and feelings I had put to rest unfold with a strange, beckoning gentleness. I am now detached and curious, yet in those moments I experienced deep, powerful emotions, some of which stunned me with their force. I recoiled with intense hurt, despair, and confused anger. Some of the recollections touch into deep spaces of my body, evoking fresh emotions of their own. Here is injury. Here is betrayal and pain. Here are wounds, both old and new. I allow the memories, and I feel the emotions—for now, this is their space. Without judgment and without fear I allow them and their shapeshifting ways.
I am absorbed within a dance of thought and feeling. As the pull of emotions subsides, a blissful awareness settles in. No life is free of times of challenge, and within each trial is the opportunity to learn and create a present moment that is sweeter and more aware. Life’s challenges give me the gift of learning deeper grace. Through them I am taught more of how I wish to be, and my self-awareness deepens. Through them I learn a greater sense of forgiveness. The profound, ultimate blessing of these challenges is that I learn more, much more, about the power of deep, unconditional love. I choose to let these experiences shape me. I could opt for embracing bitterness, pain, and icy anger, but, no, that is not for me. I choose, instead, to move deeper into the realm that is my way. Here, under the glow of the pale pink moon, I renew my vow to choose the lessons of love. I choose my course. I choose my outlook. I choose my heart. So here, as the glorious moon rises higher in the sky, I choose forgiveness, light, and love. As the moon continues her starlit journey, I notice that the misty fog, too, is rising. The fog chases her light and nibbles at her glow, but she continues rising magically, a luminous orb of steady, faithful hope. She is my guide, this moon; she knows of love and life. The night air wafts in gently through the open windows, and I feel her cooling fingers on my face.
Here, there is love and wonder. I sigh deeply and peacefully, ready to return home. Under the watch of the moon’s loving gaze, I drive toward home. I take this night with me forever. I take the lessons I’ve learned, and I smile.