Amira and Ide were sitting at Ide’s kitchen table in her new house. “Sorry, it’s still such a mess,” said Ide.
“Not at all,” said Amira. “It’s coming along really well. I must tell you that you have inspired me with a big change. After you explained to me about your budget and how the new house came about, I started to think about my own situation. I am very grateful to have inherited not one but two lovely, little homes. I doubt I would ever have been able to buy a home myself. However, I thought about how much travel I do back and forth to Eraldus each week. Also, how expensive it is to run two homes and how much maintenance it is. If I only had one home, I could use the money from the other to help as an income. I don’t really make much money from either of my practices. I seem to always end up doing much of it for free. But I have been given so much in life, why would I complain? I asked myself if I was only to have one house which one I would choose. Waldmeer won hands down. Besides, the Eraldus house is worth a lot more than the Waldmeer one. It’s the land value. So, I’m going to put it up for sale this week.”
“What about your city clients?” asked Ide.
“I’m not sure. They can ring me. I will start writing newsletters for them. I don’t know how it will work but life changes and, often, we just have to go with the flow not knowing its course. Things can change because there is something better or different for us and if we don’t follow our leanings then that which once seemed fine will start to feel unsatisfactory and will dismantle because it is not right for us anymore. It becomes a burden rather than the blessing it once was. We have to trust that as we were cared for in the past, we will be cared for in the future.”
“It will make your life simpler,” said Ide.
“As my Great-Aunt Rose would say, ‘Enough is ample sufficiency.’ One house is enough. And Waldmeer is enough,” said Amira. After a moment, she added, “It’s very quiet. Christopher is at school but where is Farkas?”
“Who knows,” said Ide. “I never ask. I want this to work.” She pointed to the house and, perhaps, she was pointing to something more than the house too. Amira nodded sympathetically. “I told him you were coming this morning,” said Ide.
“What did he say?” asked Amira.
“Nothing,” said Ide. “When he was leaving, earlier on, I asked if he wanted to stay and see you. He said, ‘No, you have no idea how annoying she can be. And offensive.’” Amira laughed. “You’re not offended, are you?” said Ide. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t have told you.”
“No, of course not,” said Amira. “It’s true. But I do pick my people. Or, at least, someone picks them. I’m only annoying (and possibly offensive) if I think the person can cope. Besides, we have a responsibility to give our best to others. Sometimes, our best is not what people want to hear.”
“Yes, but if I did that,” said Ide, “we’d be ripping up the house contract within a few weeks.”
“Absolutely. You just be yourself,” said Amira. “That is what is right and that is what will work.”
Sacred and Worthy
As Amira reached her gate, she could see Gabriel’s car. She reminded herself that he was renting the bungalow so it was his to come and go as he pleased with whomever he pleased. She opened the gate and walked along the curving path to her front door. Waldmeer had ideal weather for gardens. Plenty of sunshine and rain. That was why the rainforest backing onto Waldmeer was so alive and wondrous. Often, Amira would throw seeds around the garden beds and then, without another thought, they would grow into beautiful flowers within a month or two. It was the easiest gardening ever. She reached down to pick some of the sweet peas which were bordering the path and climbing everywhere; up the roses and over the lavender. I’ll get some of each colour; pink, mauve, red, white, she thought.
“You don’t have any yellow ones.” Amira looked up. It was Gabriel. He picked some yellow ones and passed them to her.
“Thank you,” said Amira.
“Where have you been this morning?” asked Gabriel.
“I was visiting Ide and Farkas’s new house.”
“Do they have a house together?”
“Yes,” said Amira.
Gabriel looked confused but shrugged and said, “What’s it like?”
“It needs a lot of fixing up but it will be lovely when it’s done,” said Amira. She stood up and brushed the garden dirt off her clothes. “Farkas told Ide that I’m annoying and offensive.”
Gabriel turned for his car and said over his shoulder, “For once, I’d agree with him.”
Later that day, Amira crossed paths with Gabriel again. No sight of Paul, yet, thought Amira. Perhaps, he didn’t come.
“Are you on your own, Gabriel?” she ventured.
“I have made an important decision,” said Amira.
“What is it?” asked Gabriel wondering if it may, also, affect him.
“I am going to sell my Eraldus home and live here permanently,” said Amira.
Gabriel looked at Amira for a few moments. He remembered that it was he who found the share house for them all when Amira first moved to Eraldus. My God, that seems like an eternity ago, he thought. He wasn’t sure what Amira’s decision would mean to him or if it meant anything at all. He told himself that it was her business.
“Whatever you want,” he said and continued walking to the bungalow.
Amira returned to her garden. It was a large cottage garden that had been faithfully cared for by her parents ever since they built the small, fibro house decades ago. Amira no longer tended the vegetable patch. The hen run at the bottom of the garden was now uninhabited by feathered friends who had all died of old age. The orchard thrived with virtually no care. It was very well established and was reaping the benefit of her father’s nurturing it for many years. The parts of the garden that Amira did pay attention to were the flower beds. She loved flowers; so happy and giving. She had a knack with them so that they would grow and spread beauty with minimal attention. In fact, that is the whole idea of a cottage garden; unlaboured, unpretentious, homely, and reassuring. Walking through the flowers, Amira reflected, I do not want to annoy or offend anyone. However, to the ego, it can often be seen that way. It is constantly on guard and looking for all the ways it will be betrayed and hurt. If we listen with our fears then almost everything is a threat. If we listen with our spirit then no offence is taken. The voice we listen to changes our perception.
As Amira had so much travelling to do, the Waldmeer garden had, not infrequently, been on the brink of chaos, at which point, she would spend a few hours fixing it up so that it would be manageable again. It had so many plants in it and so many bulbs and seeds that it could run away with itself very quickly. Now that Amira felt she was about to enter a different phase of her life when she would be able to settle into the routine of one house and one town, she looked at the garden with fresh eyes. She didn’t want to tame it. That would be a shame to tame such a thing. Besides, no matter how wild it got, there was always an invisible, underlying, loose order. Gardens remind us to be patient and humble because that’s what they are, thought Amira. They have no delusions of grandeur or plotting schemes. They trust implicitly that they will be cared for as part of the cycle of nature. They give so much, yet, they are unaware of their gift. They have no perception of themselves. They treat all of their inhabitants, of every type and form, as sacred and worthy. They surrender themselves to the moment with flawless confidence and, when it is called for, with the unmarred hope of renewal.
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