Enchanting Gardens


In this the 25th year of my father’s passing away, I remember the amazing garden he nurtured in Athi River, Kenya, now a million years ago, it seems.  As kids we enjoyed walking through his veggie patch, showing it off to our visitors and seeing the marvel of growing beans, cucumbers, spinach and so much more.  The indelible picture of Papaji tending to the patch of land around our bungalow with gusto, is etched in my memory.

‘Personal’ gardens often come to the fore in our minds, enchanting our present with the love we’ve experienced in the past. 

My Aunt’s garden in Nairobi South, Kenya is another unforgettable childhood memory.  The most beautiful, big, red roses greeted us at the front entrance of Mamiji’s home, whilst a vigorous passion-fruit vine adorned the car port which led to a yard lined with paw paw trees around the back fence.  A garden in which we played ‘house games’ for hours on end whilst our Aunt looked after Mum at the birth of our youngest sibling.

Gardens made so much more enchanting because of the love that flowed out to us from the gardener.  

‘Dadirri’ for Australia Day

Miriam-Rose’s story for ‘Celebrate Australia Day’   reflects on the vast open garden of her hometown in the Daly River region in Northern Territory, Australia and points out the importance of ‘inner deep listening and quiet still awareness’ also known as ‘Dadirri’.

‘When I experience dadirri, I am made whole again. I can sit on the riverbank or walk through the trees; even if someone close to me has passed away, I can find my peace in this silent awareness. There is no need of words. A big part of dadirri is listening.’

I am strong ….

Enchanting, ‘personal’ gardens! – our life-line in the most difficult and isolating times.  

Walking into 2021, a year that spells yet another phase of the pandemic challenge of vaccines, quarantines and lockdowns, may we be filled with the fruits of our chosen ‘enchanted gardens’ – fruits of love, joy and peace.

…. I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains

You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas….

lyrics by Josh Groban

To heal, we must remember

President Joe Biden January 2021

‘Sabar’ – Fortitude, Courage ….

An Ancient Word

Sabar’.  This ancient Indian word covers many emotions –  fortitude patience sufferance tolerance courage.

Growing up, if we suffered a deep grievous loss or were in a hopeless, helpless situation, our elders would comfort us with these soothing words, ‘sabar karo, beta, sabar karo’ – ‘Have patience and be courageous my child’ amidst other words of encouragement. ‘Sabar‘ – we need massive amounts of that in 2022!!  

As travel protocols, testing, border restrictions and now a war looming large, continue to choke the life out of family reunions, we are comforted by those ancient words –

sabar karo, sabar karo’ – ‘Have patience, fortitude, courage’.

An Ancient Song

In tandem with that word, an old Indian song strums in my heart as we think of loved ones we long to be with – 

Lag ja gale se fir yeh hasin raat ho na ho‘ …. lets embrace each other with love – lest this moment be not ours ever again.

A Loving Tribute

Today, we, a family spread out globally, draw comfort from these emotive sayings and pay tribute to a dear departed young niece from our midst – a jewel now shining like one of the stars in the sky. Her battle against an ailing condition, surrounded by her loving family, was a noble one.

The ‘Battle’

Sabar’ – no passive emotion, this!! Rather a highly active one based on the sure knowledge that every battle encountered by the human spirit has its conclusion, and every battle ultimately has a ‘victor’ as well as the ‘vanquished’.

Even through our deep loss, yearnings of the heart, happiness and everything in between, we will lift up our eyes to the ‘Victor’ and keep pressing on.

Sabar‘, Fortitude, Courage ♥️

This Strange Year

Crossing Borders

This strange year, though filled with hope in vaccines and easing of borders and other restrictions, is now concluding with the emergence of Omicron, an even stranger variant to Delta.

The logistics of crossing borders are proving to be nothing short of a nightmare. Movement for thousands continues to be severely curtailed, with distressing consequences when family members have to cross borders, to be with their loved ones in critical health conditions.

People everywhere are waiting for this pandemic to be brought under control in order to reunite with loved ones. Our new-norm lifestyles keep propelling us forward, fuelled with the power of hope.

Joys of a New-Norm

Our jobs, local travel and socialising have morphed into different methods and settings, leaving us freer on the one hand, but bound up in isolation for work, education and other ‘zoom’ related commitments, on the other.

We are freer to notice and enjoy nature like we may never have done before. Personally I discovered the unique and astounding beauty of a Dragon Fruit’s flower that literally blooms for just the one morning period and then withers and fades away from the afternoon onwards.

I discovered, also, the real beauty of ‘Pony Tail’ palms that have decided to blossom all round our neighbourhood for the first time in a decade. Apparently that is the plants’ normal cycle, bringing much amazement and pleasure to garden lovers.

Border Crises

The simple ‘joys’ of nature in this bleak period, are in stark contrast to the complexity of displaced peoples, facing border crises. In recent months, several such cases have been reported in the cross-fire of political border-crossing battles.

From migrants trapped at the Polish-Belarus border, drowning of 27 refugees in the English Channel to the food crisis in Ethiopia, border-crossings have become living nightmares for all involved.

Hope and the Light of Day

The Light of Day, though, knows no borders, but dawns upon every living creature and brings hope of a better tomorrow, ever taking us forward. At the end of this strange year, amidst many reports of the variant Omicron, none was seemingly so ‘hopeful’ as the one by the Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Could Omicron be our way out?’, in spite of the resurgence in positive cases.

As long as there is the Light of Day, hope continues on in our hearts, unabated.

‘The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ (John 1:5) is a verse I will cling on to, as the world sets aside a few days to celebrate Christmas and another hopeful New Year, in conclusion to this strange one.

Enjoy your Christmas break and have a Happy New Year with the family and friends that you will have around you.

2022 – here we come!