The reflective process has stood me in good stead in recent times. But I have to admit it’s been challenging trying to reconcile the perspectives offered by this busy week’s disparate experiences.
On Tuesday last I was invited to attend the 80th anniversary of the children’s charity Bush Kids at Government House by a dear friend who volunteers on the Bush Kids Council. I was thrilled to get the opportunity to visit the old Fernberg mansion and its heritage listed gardens, which have been the official residence of Queensland Governors since 1910. In the late afternoon sun of a sub-tropical spring day, I was among over a hundred guests waiting on the beautiful manicured lawns for the governor to receive us. It presented an opportunity to appreciate some of the majestic old jacarandas, cassias, and other trees and plants of historical or botanical significance. I was struck by the perspective it gave me, so much more expansive than the one my tiny garden offered and yet the juxtaposition was instructive. Big or small, it’s a matter of perspective.
During the following days I caught up with a friend with whom I’d not spoken for over thirty years. We had been in regular contact over that time, initially by letter – remember the old fashioned kind with ink and paper? – and then by email. When she and a friend were planning a trip to compete in the steel band PanzFest in Brisbane, we finally spoke on the phone, hearing each others’ voices, little changed, from decades before. Ann is a keen gardener so we found much to talk about during her brief visit. Again, the perspective it offered was interesting. The expanse of years disappeared like a puff of smoke. Perennial friendships endure across the distance of space, time and life’s experiences.
And then came the end of the week and the wait for the garden competition winners was finally over. Over a hundred excited competitors gathered to hear the results; me among them. A slide show of winning gardens showed just how much dedication and hard work it took to produce the results. I thought about all those like me who worked equally hard yet didn’t get a gong. Another lesson in perspective. While a little disappointed (well okay, perhaps more than a little), I was excited to share my love of gardens with so many. Hearing others ‘heart-speak’ of how their gardens staved off grief, loneliness and life’s disappointments, and also how gardening brought contentment and even joy into their lives, reminded me that growing is not exclusive to gardens. We are all winners.
I know that sounds a little twee, and yes, it might have been more convincing in the temporary glow of holding a trophy, but then I’d have missed the lesson on perspective, which is more enduring after all.
Failure lies concealed in every success, and success in every failure.
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