1st a series of 3 Lenten reflections
This is the back gate to just one of several woodland paths on our property. Don’t let anyone tell you that woodland gardens and paths are “no maintenance.” These paths and beds require a yearly springtime ritual of leaf-raking and re-mulching – a real workout – but it is SO worth the effort. When tidied like this, the paths and beds are inviting and just naturally beautiful. How exhausting and how satisfying!
Every spring the Hellebores (Lenten Roses) self-seed their babies all over the middle of the smaller central path in the picture, so I move them out of harm’s way and over to the sides to complete the border down the length of the path. Imagine, all those beautiful baby plants are FREE!! Such a gift.
This path is strictly a one-person walking path. The other paths are friendly, two-people paths, and one is a working path wide enough for driving the tractor-mower back and forth. But this little one is singularly special. It’s the path that invites one person on a solitary, slow meander; a quiet, reverent tiptoe down the slenderest of openings right through the middle of heaven and those verdant, fragile-looking yet sturdiest of spring plants, Lenten roses. Just magical, to my mind. And a balm to my spirit.
It's when I feel deep in my soul the music I sang as a staff singer and soloist for decades. I must have sung the Alto Air in Handel’s Messiah hundreds, maybe a thousand times. The words and music always come back to me walking along the wooded path amid the Lenten roses (during Lent!) and I am comforted, refreshed, and reflective: “Come unto to Him, all ye that labor…that are heavy laden…and He shall give you rest. Take His yoke upon you, and learn from Him, for He is meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)”
Spring / Lent is my time to do the hard work of tending to spirit as I tend to my paths – all of them: what is already there, and what I create that will lead somewhere new. Spring and Lent aren't easy. But they renew my very soul, demonstrating quite literally life after death, and thus, the garden becomes the outward manifestation of a parallel inner spiritual journey – and the woodland paths always show me the way.
Longtime Newnan resident Susie Berta has many creative pursuits, including music, art, writing, cooking, gardening, entertaining and decorating. She is now pursuing her passion for writing and recently published her memoir, “The Veterinarian’s Wife.” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.