Gail’s Peace Garden


The Desert

The one way to peace is this:
No matter what the problem may be, “think about God first.”
Emmet Fox, The Golden Key

In From Here to Serenity, A Spiritual Guide to Transform Your Life I wrote that I have searched for peace and calm since I was a child. I didn’t know or understand at that young age exactly what it was or how to get it. I just knew I needed something. I had a deep faith and there was something within me that told me that there was a Power that lived within me. I have  felt that Presence of God in my life since I was very young. I’ve always loved being outside.

I find a great peace and joy when I spend time outdoors in my garden. Life flows from the earth into my hands. That’s why I rarely wear gloves when I work in the garden. I am very connected to the earth. This may be due to the fact that I have some Native American roots on both sides of my family. I am not saying I am never frustrated or discouraged. It just means that when difficult situations arise I’ve learned how to deal with them.

I had back surgery and finally I began to feel better and then I got a brilliant idea. Because of the draught situation in our area it was strongly suggested that everyone cut back on their watering. I decided to put in several interesting draught tolerant specimen plants and some California poppies. I could already see it. It would be a showplace.

The perfect place was in the front of the house. There was a strip of lawn on one side of the driveway, 5 feet wide by 25 feet long. “This shouldn’t be too much of a problem,” I thought. “I’ll just have Hong (our gardener) and his men dig it up for me. I asked him to dig down a foot or so to get all the grass roots out. I thought to myself, “This is going to be fun!”

Now Hong has a mind of his own and it’s not going to be changed by a woman! He said he would dig down 3 inches and that was all it would need. Now Hong is a very nice, very educated man. However, he would not budge on his decision. I did get him to dig a few holes for me to plant some draught tolerant plants which I had carefully chosen. Then I tried digging a few holes for smaller plants. I could not dig more than an inch deep in that dirt. It was completely filled with tight roots.

I watched the woman across the street dig out the flowerbeds and carry ten huge bags of mulch and work that into the ground. It seems Carlsbad has the best weather in the world, but it also has the worst soil. If she can do that, why can’t I? Age is no excuse. But there was no way.

Some of the large and expensive plants began to look a little sick. Soon they began to look a LOT sick. I lost them one by one.  But I wouldn’t give up. No-I went and bought more plants. I paid Hong to dig holes for these new plants and I planted them. Every day I went out to look at my desert. It was beginning to look pretty good.

One morning I went out to look at my desert and two of my favorite plants-the ones with beautiful little purple flowers on them-were gone! I looked around frantically to see what could have happened. The realization finally hit me. The rabbits had eaten them. My beautiful plants were dead! Rabbits are so cute and I want no harm to come to them, but I was devastated by the death of my carefully chosen plants. They were like children to me.

Completely Discouraged, I went in the house and closed the door.  But then it happened . . .

Gail Manishor, RScP, Author of
From Here to Serenity,
A Spiritual Guide to Transform Your Life

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