The garden started as a moment. A mere shudder as I rained upon the world.
At first, it was small and barren. Before long little stems of growth were heard, observed, smelled, felt, and tasted. The garden absorbed all experience and used it as food.
Back then I found the garden intimidating and overwhelming. Its fast growth and expanding borders confused me. Hidden refuges provided shelter from the thunder and wind which would sometimes rattle the foundations of the garden.
Growing up in the garden could also be wonderful. As I became more familiar with the garden its boundaries and unique characteristics started to mirror my own. Or was it the other way around? I’m still not sure now.
A mountain began to rise in the middle of the garden sometime around the transition into manhood. The mountain was steep and difficult to climb, but I learned to climb and eventually reached the top.
At the top, I observed the vastness of the great garden which encompassed the fullness of my presence in this world. Its vegetation was thick and green. Roots of trees snaked across the ground, over and under one another, searching for more experience to feast on.
From atop the mountain, I felt invincible for the first time in this life. It didn’t matter if the garden had built me or if I had built the garden. We were now both one and the same. The greatness of the garden was my greatness. Everything the garden did was because of me. Everything the garden was yet to do would come from the greatness of my hands.
Years passed atop the mountain.
Sometime around middle age, I could see that the garden was shrinking and the mountain didn’t seem as high as it once was. The lush green fullness was being replaced by withered leaves with brown edges. Climbing down from the mountain I walked the corners of the garden attempting to understand what was happening.
I felt lost and feared the end of my greatness.
More years passed and I slumbered in the mud of the dying garden. The mountain was now only a small hill covered in short brush which bristled in the cool breeze of a night that never ended.
Mud coated my body and made me feel stiff and constricted. There was something I had missed on the way to this unfamiliar place in a garden that no longer recognized me. Had I been a fool? A jester dancing in my own courtyard. A self-defined small god which only existed within my own grandiose thoughts of greatness.
The mud hardened and entombed my body in preparation for something. There was no movement. No air. No feeling. But there was a heart. A beat. A pilot light which remained lit deep in the dampness of the prison I had built. The mud and I became one. A thing not unlike a seed. The seed lay in the middle of the garden where the great mountain had been so long ago.
Something new rained upon the world. A world which had at one time been mine. The seed became saturated and started to change under a new light which seemed to come from within it.
A tree took root in the middle of the garden. It grew as high as the mountain had been and its strong limbs stretched across the full expanse of the garden. But the tree did not stop growing. The garden had to grow larger to accommodate the tree. Was I now the tree? Was there an “I”? A “me”?
The garden, which in younger years had seemed so intimidating now appeared small. At some point, the garden could expand no further and the tree burst forth from its remains. The tree, which maybe wasn’t a tree, flowed with light and energy. It was neither great nor insignificant. It was.
The same moment as the beginning. – JC
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JC Collins can be contacted at email@example.com