Art and Garden

My Garden Shirt

My Garden Shirt

I glance down at my outstretched arm as I read the next page in my book. I barely make it a paragraph as it dons on me… the exact moment I read about finding, the moment I’m now thinking to be aware of, watch for, as the day unfolds, is here, here on my arm, caught in my slight glance sideways. It’s happening as I wonder about when it would happen, as I wonder what the moment would be, there it is, right there in that moment.

The glance.

I am transported into the pink flower pattern on my shirt’s sleeve.

I’m meandering the cosmos, emerging as buds dancing above tall full frilly green stalks. The zinnias showing their colorful regalia, hardy, firm like candlesticks, amongst their soft underplantings of alyssum and marigolds, each a button of bright summer color – the pinks, my favorites. The roses hailing their deep rich pinks, full lavenders, black maroons, dark clarets, all puffed up in delicated folded cupped abundance floating on the surface of their stately leafy mounds. Their gentle delicate scents sending hints of vanilla, apple blossom, pure rosy delight, across the rustling grasses, one small breeze at a time. The garden stones are the welcoming path to the meadows adventures, lined with tiny thyme flowers, waving their petals showing the way to enter, calling forth, toward the delights within almost bursting like soap bubble stars.

I think, all that in a sleeve?

This shirt; the light cotton necessity I convinced myself to embrace as if a shield to the summer sun this season. The pretty print, the sleeves… but it was white! The garden brown with dirt, who would ever condone such a remedy? Surely it’s final tone would be dingy, dirty, barely wearable at best by August, no, even July. For a whole season? (I remember…accepting the challenge)

That dingying, dirtying. I accepted it as a challenge of sorts. Why not make it dirty? Why not make it dingy? Why not accept the challenge of white shirt as if a surrender to the sienna colored badges of gardening triumph? Perhaps with each marking, each dirting of delicate white weft, an acknowledgement of gardening glory could ever be etched in time, like the height markers carved on a door frame entrance to a cozy cottage farm kitchen, the names of the family born and reared within the walls of love and warmth of a place called home ever telling the stories of memories. These marks, each a tale, each a mark of Gardener.

My shirt. My garden challenge. My white garden shirt flowered in vibrant pinks as promised by the garden soil sprinkled with seeds of hope and splendor, bright white just days ago, now marking its triumphs. In this glance, I spy tinges of brown stained cloth, like the tinted edges of vintage tea cloths. Large patches of beige, just oh so different from its white memory, marked in contrast by the ever still bright clear white buttons. A round splotch, of distinct brown, an umber watercolor bloom, spread on a cuff, a badge of completed rite, a mark in time as a ring of a tree. My shirt, a visual record of the flowers I see today, the billowing chamomile, the lilac tree in infancy, the sunflowers promising their show, the splendor of summer to come, all notched somehow in my shirt’s sleeve with each small discoloration. Each trophy adding it’s own vignette to this life story.


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