Come to my garden

I first noticed the chalk board as I made my way home from a long and sweaty walk one summer day.

Perched on a fence in front of one of our neighborhood’s loveliest gardens, it said, “Kind words can be easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.”

I just loved that someone had been thoughtful enough to post a message like that for the world at large.

A few weeks later, I walked past the house again and noticed that the message had changed.

“Everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.”

From then on, wherever I walked, I made sure to circle past that house to read the messages posted there. Occasionally, I snapped a quick photo and, following that pitstop, I always finished my walk with a lighter step.

It felt good to see someone care enough to share a little love with the world, and to do it in a manner both simple and profound. Just a little colored chalk on a chalkboard and some earnest urging for civility and grace.

Yesterday, I biked over and met the artist, a friendly and talented gardener named Jean. She took me on a tour of her garden and it was exactly as I had hoped.

“See that tree over there?” she said. “It was dying, but I grew some vines over it and now you’d never know. You can grow things in the unlikeliest places.”

She and her next-door neighbor shared the common space between their two houses and worked together to turn it into something beautiful.

“We made a little bistro that we could enjoy together,” Jean said.

She let another neighbor pick out yesterday’s quote and the little girl added a sweet drawing of two friends to her choice. It read, “Make the most of every moment. It never come again.”

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The echoes of Jean’s kind words are still bouncing around the neighborhood more than a year after I saw this message.
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I realized this was an evolving project when I saw the second message…and then I greeted everyone I met with a smile.
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We all do better when we all do better.
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Sometimes, I wandered past at night. “The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.”
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An autumn message I loved: “Earthly possessions can be lost or destroyed, but nothing can take away the love we invest in each other.”
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“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
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This was last week’s message, as selected by Jean’s little friend.
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I caught Jean as she changed her garden message. Swing by this week and you’ll be advised to “Do something extremely well today.”
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Jean and her neighbor turned the common land between their houses into a bistro.

 

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