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Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The Healing in the Garden
This is a thought-picture from me to you. Above is a Sicilian Market. This story is in honor of my mother, who underwent life-saving surgery today. She came over from Sicily on a boat at age twelve.
At the VA where I trained, as an intern, I went out for a walk on the grounds when I was on call. Much to my delight, I discovered a garden. It was run by the department of psychiatry as a healing garden for the psychiatric patients. They worked in the garden, and they healed the very deep wounds that they had inside. The produce was sold on Wednesdays, and anyone that worked at the medical center could purchase it. They sold anything from potted plants to produce, and although it was scary to go up to the patients sometimes and buy it, it was a win-win for everyone involved.
I spent a lot of time in that garden. When I was on call for General Surgery, I could not go to my house. I had to stay and work for twenty-four hours. I found that picking some flowers with my trauma shears and arranging them in a styrofoam cup in my call room made the day that I spent in the service of my fellow man more palatable. I found beauty to counterbalance the harsh images of disease and suffering that I was exposed to throughout the night and day.
I also found the fruit! Italians believe it is a sin to waste fruit, and it is not stealing when one helps themselves to the bounty on the tree, just for eating purposes for yourself. I ignored the signs and helped myself to plums and apricots and apples, if only for a taste of joy under the blue sky outside the hospital.
There was a gazebo, a fountain with a little waterway, and Nature, lots and lots of Nature. And colorful flowers, as you know. Sometimes I picked roses, sometimes daisies, sometimes sweet peas that smelled wonderful...my co-interns always gave me a hard time about the flowers. I didn't care--they didn't understand how I was nourishing myself, my spirit, and my healer's heart.
The home that I grew up in is only fifteen minutes away from the VA. I took mother to the garden one time on my day off. Mother can spot a fruit tree on the side of the road in a car that is going seventy-miles an hour and tell you what kind of tree it is. Even if there is no fruit on it. She admired the garden, and many times we came back. She met the master gardener, who was Italian, and he blessed our visits and encouraged us to taste the fruit.
One tree got mother a little excited--Chezzu--It was a tree with leaves like apricot leaves, but small red mulberry-like fruit that really stain your hand red when you eat them. She had them last as a little girl back in Sicily. She showed me how to eat them and they were very good! A combination of sweet and tart like I had never experienced. And best of all was the connection to our heritage of orchards back home.
Several times I went while I was working to eat them. They were in season a short time, but I knew where they were and when. The only catch was to make sure I washed my hands a lot because otherwise it would look like I had blood on them!
On the way home from the hospital tonight, on the long drive, I realized the healing power and the beauty of the garden is this: the Love that is put into it by the gardeners.
Love heals. A garden is a depository of this Love and Caring that is available to all who experience it.
Love is the Solution For Everything, wouldn't you agree?
(with deepest Love and Gratitude for everyone who sent healing energy, Reiki, Love and Light to mother and the family on this very long day.)