A Christmas Gift

A few days ago, a close friend came by to drop off a few Christmas gifts. She had intended to place the gifts on the front porch and leave – being mindful of social distancing – but when she came up to the house, she decided to knock. We hadn’t seen each other for over a year, and she hasn’t been to my house during daytime in more than 4 years, so the desire to take a moment for a greeting was strong. I put on a mask and opened the door to my wonderful friend. She’s not an emotional woman, but when we locked eyes we both started to cry with happiness. No hugging, keeping our distance, we stood outside talking, laughing, sharing and shivering with cold. She has been such a good friend for so many years that I can’t imagine (and don’t want to imagine) life without her. For more than 30 years we have shared successes, failures, deaths, births, marriages, traumas, and travel. Two of my favorite vacations were when I stayed at her family cabin on the Oregon coast. Her father built the cabin during World War 2, and she has vivid memories of evenings lit only by candlelight during that war.

My friend is a world traveler now that she is retired. She has been to every continent except Antarctica. She tries to take four large trips per year, so this year – 2020 – has been particularly difficult for her – time only for one trip before lockdown. (The same has been true for my spouse and I – we only managed to take one vacation before restrictions due to COVID were put in place.) But, our shared love of travel has always included an interest in visiting gardens throughout the world – whether the gardens are botanical, public, historic, demonstration, species, or the rare private garden opened for an individual tour (specifically for her when she visited Ethiopia years ago)- we have always shared a love of gardens! So, when my friend arrived at my door (after the four year gap), she took a look around and said, “This is a true gardener’s garden!”

Although we are in winter now, the following are pictures of the areas of my garden from seasons past that my friend has always enjoyed. Her visit was a very welcome gift in a very difficult season, and few gifts are as meaningful as that of friendship. I wish you a season of joy, of love, and of appreciation for the beauty that surrounds you. Peace.

My wisteria garden in May.
Oldest rhododendron in the garden, and an iris given to us over 20 years ago.
The fern garden waking up into spring.
Leucothoe fontanesiana, one of my friend’s favorite flower.

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