The Boy in the Garden

Location

Moments in time, captured and frozen forever.

Is that not what photographs are?

I know that when I sit down

And look at pictures,

I am thrust into that moment of time,

 Living it over and over again.

Perhaps that is why pictures of war are so terribly beautiful.

 Just by looking, you can understand

What horrors people are thrust into.

Empathy is a beautiful thing.

Then there are pictures which remind you of someone you’ve lost.

Perhaps it was a loved one, or a pet,

But no matter what,

It can remind you of the joy you had with them.

This too is beauty.

Perhaps photos are like jigsaw pieces that,

When put together,

Form the puzzle of our lives.

Out of all these types of pictures though,

There is one which I can’t stop thinking about.

Many things in this picture have changed over the years.

 

Both the garden and the young boy in its center have changed.

 Once, the garden grew freely, with plants loose,

only tended to when there was fruit to pick,

 and only a white plastic fence holding it back from taking over the yard.

 It had ruby red tomatoes,

 cucumbers of the darkest green,

 and sunflowers that could be mistaken for their namesake.

Recently though, the garden is regularly tended,

 confined by bricks,

and allowing the plants to grow unfettered is unheard of.

 They are all bound to stakes, incapable of going far from where they are planted.

I suppose you could say the same about the boy.

 Tended to and guided constantly,

he has grown into the shoes which he was expected to fill.

Of course, he has his moments where he falls off the intended path,

but every garden has a few weeds, doesn’t it?

 

Perhaps this is part of the problem in society.

We do not allow our children to grow naturally,

 but rather guide them and shape them

into what we want them to be.

Trim away the branches which we don’t think are good enough,

and uproot the plants we don’t find beautiful.

After all, isn’t that what a weed is? Just a plant that isn’t accepted? 

 

This past year though, both the garden and the boy

 Have had a chance to grow in their own fashion.

The garden has a sort of a wild beauty about it,

with wild strawberries covering the ground like a carpet of rubies,

dandelions that have grown taller than the 6 foot fence, trying to reach the sky,

and a family of rabbits with eyes like onyx and fur like a silken coat.

The boy has gained control over his own life, going in his natural direction.

He has found his own road to walk,

 and though some may disapprove, or be disappointed,

 it is of no matter.

 This road is not without its rough spots,

 and it may not be the one he walks his entire life,

but it is one which he chose on his own.

There are times where I think that the boy isn’t in the garden,

but rather that he is the garden.

 

Now I can look back and see

that the boy in the garden has been lost to the seas of time,

set adrift and only alive in these frozen moments.

He is alive in the memories, the emotions, and the longing for childhood.

However, perhaps it is better that the innocent child is gone.

After all, the innocent cannot understand pain,

and without understanding it you cannot live with it.

 When I think of him, I feel sorrow,

 for he could not possibly have known the pain which was yet to come,

but he did not know the happiness either.

There are days when I pick up this picture and slip into the mindset of that young boy.

 He was always joyful, and the most pain he had ever known was a scraped knee.

Now, there is the pain of an absent father,

a sister confined to a wheelchair,

and the loss of family and friends.

Even now, as I gaze upon his smiling face, I wonder

“Where did he go? And when did I take his place?”

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