An Hour In The Garden

I don’t know why I have come into the garden today.

Everyday when I return from training, I go straight upstairs. Today, I didn’t.

Instead of turning right from the gate towards the stairs, I turn left into the garden. I take off my sandals and walk barefoot in the cool, moist grass. The garden lies in the shadow after mid-day. It is dim and has an underlying coolness to it. It seems as if the chill morning mist is still swirling around amongst the flower shrubs. It’s been weeks since I came here and now I don’t want to go into the house. I call for a bean bag.

Within minutes, the world seeps away from me. The bean bag has adjusted itself to create a cradle for me. The thick carpet of grass is lush and cool under my bare feet. It has the exact spiky springiness to it that gives a feeling of indolent luxury. The mad, azure blue of the winter sky stretches endlessly above me; the kind that makes you squint your eyes because you are afraid to look at such purity. The white woolly balls are swimming around in it. It glows with a pure brilliance. The sun is behind my head, on the other side of the house. I sit in a shadow made warm by the sun even though it is not visible. The warmth is not imagined, it is real, it is tangible. I can feel the sun in my nostrils.

How SILENT everything is..! It is so strange, I never realized how silent my home is. It is not a sad silence, it is a silence of peace, beyond the need for words. It is a smiling, contented silence, warmed by the out-of-sight sun. Even though it is not visible, the sun has made the air charged and cozy. The balmy air holds a subtle nip in its folds. It adds another degree to the serenity to the garden. It feels good; very, very good.

I slump in my bean bag, toes entwining in the cool grass. The garden is awash with the fragrance and colors of winter roses. The chrysanthemums are in bud. Laxmi brings a piping hot tankard of tulsi tea made exactly as I like it. The sugar just a hint, the milk barely there. Without being asked, she has also brought the book I had begun to read yesterday. Somehow she always knows which book I am reading even if there are two or three books lying on my bedside shelf. She took away my formal sandals and brought my slippers, placing them near my feet. And I was thinking of sacking her..! I must be out of my mind..!

I close my eyes every minutes or so as I type this. I lift my cup of tea and let its aroma write sagas of bliss on the walls of my soul.

The wars within me are over. With deliberate intent, I have made peace with the warring clans. I have bowed my head in acceptance knowing there are things I cannot change. The acceptance is hard bought, but the pain will be worth the peace. I know that.

I am full to the brim, at last. And I realize something with a shock, as I sit in this silent, fragrant garden, flooded with warm gratitude.

What needs to happen to make me happy?

Nothing needs to happen to make me happy. I am already happy. I am contented. Truly, utterly at peace.

Happiness needs no reason or prop to bring it into existence. Neither another person, nor a pleasant event needs to happen in order to create a state of happiness. Happiness happens spontaneously- without reason, props or specific events. I am perfectly capable of creating that state for myself. Today I know what Johnny meant when he said, “I am happy. I am always happy because I know how to make myself happy.”

The world can neither give, nor take away my happiness. It begins and ends with me. And today, as I savor the beauty of my garden and let it fill my soul, I know it. A feeling of intense love and gratitude fills my being. I close my eyes and thank all those who have given of themselves generously to bring me to this state of inner enrichment.

I love you, life.

Picture Mine
Picture Mine


Originally written: 4th November 2012.

33 thoughts on “An Hour In The Garden”

  1. Oh how lovely to have a garden to mull things in. I could picture you on the bean bag, drinking your tea and relaxing. And what timing too… just reached home from office 🙂 yes, I do feel that happiness just happens without reason because it is always within us. Loved it. and the photo too.

  2. Exactly what I needed to read this eve as I sit on the verandah listening to distant birds, hanging clouds and forests beyond. You are right–happiness begins and ends with me. Sensing it as I write this. I remember ur garden n the cool moist grass and the swing…I was v happy there. Was I happier there than here now? Confusing.

    1. Whether you were happier here or there, the pertinent point is, you are happy. My garden remembers you too. It asks me when you’d come. Soon, I tell it, soon. And it waits with me. <3

  3. I could just picture you sitting there in your garden, in the warmth of the sun behind you and the cool grass under your feet. Loved this visually rich post. And o this sentence is an absolute gem – “The mad, azure blue of the winter sky stretches endlessly above me; the kind that make you squint your eyes because you are afraid to look at such purity.” It says so much…especially the last part. I will remember this for a very long time. Thank you 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Beloo! Coming from a brilliant writer like you, this is high praise indeed. I am humbled and very thrilled. 🙂

  4. Reading this piece reminded me of the book ‘The Secret Garden’.. i had always dreamed of having such a garden where I could be myself, be one with my being…
    Are you sure it was just an hour there? It sure sounds timeless to me..
    Esp. loved this line *let its aroma write sagas of bliss on the walls of my soul*…. indeed a cup of tea in a garden will soothe the soul like none other.

    Dagny, I must say this goes down as one of my most favourite posts from your press 🙂

    1. As they say Seeta, it matters not how long you live but how much life you live in a moment. A moment can be timeless… an hour could be eternity. How long I stayed there? Who knows? I stayed long enough to live a lifetime… that’s all I know. 🙂

      I am very happy you liked this post. Strange how thing written spontaneously, with no plan or forethought, connect so well with us, isn’t it? 🙂

  5. So lucky you have a garden! I would love to have a house with a gardn some day where I can sit and read for hours! beautifully expressed 🙂

    1. A happy moment can be created anywhere Ghata. It will be born in the moment when you realize that your happiness and joy flow freely like a mountain brook- continuously and spontaneously. 🙂

      Thank you for coming by…

  6. You know, Dagny. I have a terrace garden where my husband gently tends to vegetables that he lovingly grows. These days I go for a little time in the morning after the kids have gone to school and read my newspaper there. I feel the sun play hide and seek and soak my soul. I hear the distant cuckoo sing melodiously and I watch my husband intently work with his babies. All that green does soothe the soul. Yes, it makes me happy! We have to find these sanctuaries of happiness around us and most importantly within us. I sat on that swing with you having tulsi chai and casually reading that book. It was blissful!

    1. Someday, you will surely sit on that swing with me as we drink a cup of tulsi tea together and let the silence talk. I look forward to the day. 🙂

  7. Every time I read a piece like this is when I realize that I AM happy 🙂 Otherwise, I just AM 🙂

    Typo Alert : “contended” instead of ‘contented’ in one place; ‘hardly bought’ instead of ‘hard-bought’ – the former gives the impression that you hardly had to buy it :); ‘to reason’ instead of ‘no reason’

    Just did not want these to mar such a lovely piece

    1. You will be happy to know that I found 4 additional typos to the ones you pointed out. Funny how they hide themselves when I proof- reading. The moment someone pulls one out they all come prancing out, enjoying themselves to the hilt. Oh well!

      Thank you Suresh. You know me and my proclivity towards typos… 😀

      Pleased you liked this. I was waiting for you to read this…

  8. what a happy post it is and it has so much to say about happiness. I am so hopeful that these warring clans inside us do make a disappearance act ,if we tried really hard . And the lines -pain is worth the peace , makes me fill with optimism.

    1. Kirti, The warring clan will go in time. Once they see that they have no basis for conflicts, they too will go to sleep. I am happy this post filled you with optimism. Some of what I was feeling has made its way to you. What can be more satisfying?

      Thank you for coming by…

  9. Beautifully written!! Just reading this has made me feel all peaceful and calm. It takes so little to make us happy, like a post from you!

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