“The Gardener”

Dear Reader:

Sometimes in the evenings as I sit on my garden bench I look at the Japanese Maples and imagine how each grandchild’s tree will look in five, ten or more years. Sadly I realize that one day the house and garden will belong to someone else…someone who might want the back yard again in its bare state minus a garden or fountain or planted trees and plants.

The thought saddens me. I feel so protective of my sanctuary filled with dreams of my grown grandchildren returning to see their giant maple trees with their faded names beside them. But what if they have been removed…cast away as if they never existed? Will it have been enough to just have enjoyed them for the time we both lived in the garden together? I feel as much like their guardian as I do their gardener.

And then I found an excerpt from a poet I vaguely remember studying in English Literature at college….Rabindranath Tagore.He became (in 1913) the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.  Tagore’s poetic songs were viewed as spiritual and his “elegant prose and magical poetry” mystical.  He was , also, referred to as “the Bard of Bengal”.

 When I came across this stanza from his poem “The Gardener” I felt like we had somehow crossed paths along the same thought waves.

“The Gardener”

Who are you, reader, reading my poems a hundred years hence?
I cannot send you one single flower from this wealth of the spring, one single streak of gold from yonder clouds.

Open your doors and look abroad.
From your blossoming garden gather fragrant memories of the vanished flowers of an hundred years before.

In the joy of your heart may you feel the living joy that sang one spring morning, sending its glad voice across an hundred years.

— The Gardener, 1915

I would love if someone owning my home or property in the future would end up sitting by one of the Japanese Maples and start wondering about the names on each tree . And then somehow start hearing my voice whispering back …”They were named for my grandchildren…my beloved grandchildren.”

My brother Ben’s birthday is Friday and the local chapter of Veterans Affairs in Conway is throwing him a party. Yesterday he and a friend, Rick, stopped by the house (after visiting Lee, Vikki and adorable little Rhodes) … I was able to give him his birthday presents followed by all of us going to Oscars for a birthday lunch.

The waiter, Mitch, I remembered from an earlier visit…and soon we were all chatting with him and started asking about his life and discovered some fascinating stories about him and his girlfriend.

We decided we all wanted to give Mitch some extra attention and tips… we filled out a card praising his warmth and great service. Rick made the comment as we left that he was sure all four of us would be repaid with good karma. It was a wonderful time together.

This piece of prose by Rabindranath Tagore seemed to fit our fun comraderie time with our waiter at lunch yesterday.

Opening Thy Palm

Rabindranath Tagore

I had gone a-begging from door to door in the village path when thy golden chariot appeared in the distance like a gorgeous dream and I wondered who was this King of all kings!

My hopes rose high and methought my evil [hungry] days were at an end, and I stood waiting for alms to be given unasked and for wealth scattered on all sides in the dust.

The chariot stopped where I stood.  Thy glance fell on me and thou camest down with a smile.  I felt that the luck of my life had come at last.  Then of a sudden thou didst hold out thy right hand and say “What hast thou to give to me?”

Ah, what a kingly jest was it to open thy palm to a beggar to beg!  I was confused and stood undecided and then from my wallet I slowly took out the least little grain of corn and gave it to thee.

But how great my surprise when at the day’s end I emptied my bag on the floor to find a least little grain of gold among the poor heap.  I bitterly wept and wished that I had had the heart to give thee my all.

So until tomorrow…Love this poetic message…simply put…the more we give…the more we receive in this world.

Mandy and I originally had planned to take Eva Cate to Ft. Sumter yesterday but due to the uncertainties of the rain factor from the weather front we decided to try again another time. *Eva Cate gave me her end of the year school picture awhile back…she is growing up so fast, too fast!

*Update on Sis Kinney- heard from her yesterday….Tuesday was a long day with several procedures before the surgery but it looks like the lymph nodes were clear and hopefully a series of light radiation treatments might finish off the necessary final procedures. Thank everyone for all the prayers for Sis.



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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4 Responses to “The Gardener”

  1. bcparkison says:

    My cousin and I talk often of how when we are no longer here ‘our things’ will not be important to any of our children. They have ther own ‘things’ ,but if I didn’t have my grandmothers things I would be sitting on the floor.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      The Ya’s and I discuss this a lot….so much of the furniture i saved from grandmother is not wanted by any of the children….so much history will be given away and no one will ever remember the family stories around it…it is sad…a passage of time and moving on…but it will be sad leaving behind so many stories of family.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Becky,
    You are a true gardener. You not only plant seeds for beautiful flowers and trees, but you plant seeds of knowledge in our hearts with your stories, and joy blossoms. Thank you for sharing your family and gems of wisdom from yourself and others we would not know otherwise.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      That is the most beautiful thing that has happened to me today…your touching comment!. You had me in tears. We all have those days when doubts of our personal contributions to this world concern us…but then someone, like you, comes along and dispels them into thin air. Bless you!


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