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There’s this beautiful garden that I pass nearly every day. It looks like it contains a little bit of everything, a few lovely flowers, some vegetables, a couple of scarecrows and, right in the center, three of the most beautiful sunflowers I have ever seen.

It reminds me of you.

It is enclosed in a tall wire fence, framed in dark wood, and throughout the summer, as the sprouts grew so tall I couldn’t see over the tops of them any longer, I was so grateful for the wire fencing because, from certain angles, I could still see inside.

This spring – as you turned four – the garden had just started sprouting; the blooms were bursting to life and new produce was burrowing its roots into the ground, readying itself for the fall harvest. Every day I ran past, I’d wave to the gardner, and every day he’d wave back. I’d smile because it made me think of you.

As the summer months grew longer and hotter, the vines growing up along the walls of the fence became so thick I could no longer see in. But I kept waving to the gardner because I knew he was in there.

A garden that beautiful has some guidance.

And those wild sunflowers? They’ve been allowed to grow unbidden by the conformities of the garden’s structure. They arch over the fencing, exploding in yellows and oranges and even flecks of reds.

Those, especially, remind me of you.IMG_5305



Today must have been harvest because the fence was clear, and for the first time in months I had an unobstructed view inside. The overgrown leaves and vines have been cut back to reveal tidy rows of earth where carrots and turnips and peppers likely once grew. The gardner is preparing his ground for winter.

Even the barren land reminds me of you.

Because I know there will come a day where your fence will become so overwhelmed with gnarly vines, roots or weeds that it will shut others out; it will shut me out. There will be times when I won’t be able to see in. And even though that is a frightening thought, please remember that I’m not so old I don’t remember going through those times myself.

In fact, I will still be just outside your gate – passing by daily – and waving to you, waiting to see if you need me to help harvest.

And just like my neighbor, we’ll leave the wildflowers where they grow; for they are the most beautiful part of any garden.

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