We created a garden for you. It happened spontaneously which I think you would have liked. We wanted a place to reflect on the allness you gifted us. When we found this spot, it felt right.
It was the winter of 2015, the first winter without you, when we strolled to the bottom of our paddock.
Weeds invaded the area, reaching above our heads. We tried to find our corner boundary but the overgrowth hid everything. We pushed through tangled broom, the branches hitting hard on our skin. No path existed so it was a matter of charging onward, trampling a walking space with our boots.
Looking back, we caught a glimpse of the house and a view of our oldest trees; gnarled gums Australian to their roots, the tip of the majestic conifer that sheltered our courtyard. Wrens flitted everywhere, a yellow robin sunned on the fence, we came across a decaying fox carcass.
We know you loved Mistover. We have a photo of you refusing to go when we left the first time. We remember your amazement when we bought it back: “What! That is brilliant. When are you moving in and is that the same bathtub?”
So we thought this small piece of bush was the right place for your garden. You reminded us of that in your own writings that depicted a love of nature:
Something I Like by William (2013)
I’m walking through the park. The trees shimmer and rustle as the wind scrapes along. It’s a gentle breeze and runs underneath my clothes, a soothing balm against the pulsing sun overhead. The sky is blue, empty but for a few puffs of cloud floating lazily above. There are benches interspersed along the path but I don’t follow the path. I walk along the grass. I like the feel of it under my feet. The blades bend beneath my soles; my weight nestles comfortably in the dirt. The concrete path disappears and the people do too. I pass between two trees, their muddy bark rough and textured; it feels like life’s in high definition. I can hear the calls of birds, the traffic is a dull sound in the far off distance. It sounds like water’s nearby and the air tastes crisp. There’s a smell but I can’t place it. It’s not one particular thing. It’s a concoction of everything nature has provided me.
It's taken several months to clear the area. We imported an Extractigator from Canada, a natty tool that pulls broom with an easy action. You would have uttered that familiar laugh at Dad’s ordered research to find such a tool, typical of his enthusiasm. We’ve had diggers, machines, a constructor and our brilliant designer Ray Robinson, who understands why this garden matters.
We chose your statue together, the four of us – Ma, Pa, Sarah and Harriet. It reflects your curiosity of life and your natural manner. It’s gentle to the touch, easy to caress.
The garden is for reflection. and happy gatherings of friendship. A garden to sit and think about life with you and how impossible life is without you. A garden dressed by nature, lit by fiery sunsets, protected in the quietness and stillness of Mistover.
I think you would like it a lot. When I sit there I imagine you’re beside me.
First published Friday 3 June 2016