“Friendship is a Sheltering Tree”…

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Dear Reader:

Here are my Japanese maples, in all different stages of growth, with name plates and oriental lanterns attached to each…representing each grandchild.

The only one without a name plate is the smallest with the white lantern…as we await our newest arrival. (However…it is the tiniest tree that lights up each night…a big white ball-shaped beam coming from it in the dark garden. I can’t help but think it is the spirit of our little angel letting us know he/she will be arriving soon.)

The tallest and oldest tree with the orange lantern belongs to Eva Cate, the oldest grandchild, the second largest tree with the blue lantern belongs to Rutledge, and the third tallest tree with the red lantern belongs to Jakie!

One day when all the grandchildren are playing in the garden in beautiful autumn…the Japanese maples will be casting shadows over the garden in all their radiant red colors. I can hardly wait!

Samuel Coleridge, upon observing trees in his garden one day, quoted: “Friendship is a sheltering tree.” 

… And that is how this mid-winter retreat for the Ya’s has been…a shelter for friendship in the midst of cold winds. As our time begins to dwindle …we know we are all stronger for being together. Strength in unity!

I came across this garden meditation by Reverend Max Coots before Brooke and I left for Pawleys last Wednesday morning…and thought it was the appropriate ending to our retreat.

The last thing I did before leaving…was check my garden and cover a few tender plants struggling to hold out against the cold. I pray they did.

“Garden Meditations”

Let us give thanks for a bounty of people.

For children who are our second planting, and though they grow like weeds and the wind too soon blows them away, may they forgive us our cultivation and fondly remember where their roots are.

Let us give thanks.

For generous friends, with hearts-and smiles-as bright as blossoms.

For feisty friends, as tart as applesauce;

For continuous friends, who, like scallions and cucumbers, keep reminding us that we’be had them;

For handsome friends, who are as gorgeous as eggplants and as elegant as a row of corn, and the others, as plain as potatoes and so good for you;

For funny friends, who are as silly as Brussels sprouts and as amusing as Jerusalem artichokes;

And serious friends as unpretentious as cabbages; as subtle as summer squash, as persistent as parsley, as delightful as dill, as endless as zucchini and who, like parsnips, can be counted on to see you through the winter.

For old friends, nodding like sunflowers in the evening time and young friends coming on as fast as radishes.

For loving friends, who wind around us like tendrils and hold us, despite our blights, wilts, and witherings.

And finally, for those friends now gone, like gardens past that have been harvested, but who fed us in their time that we might have life thereafter.

For all these we give thanks.


So until tomorrow…Let us give thanks for all the friends who enter our gardens of love and acceptance; the garden for everyone who grows within.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to “Friendship is a Sheltering Tree”…

  1. Kazuko says:

    Hi, I desire to subscribe for this webpage to obain latest
    updates, thus where can i do it please assist.


    • Becky Dingle says:


      There should be a submission icon to the right of the blog post where you can leave your email address and it will pop up automatically each day….until then just google or use your search engine and tuype in chapelofhopestories. Hope this helps!


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