Slowly she locked the door within the high wall. Assured of her solitude, she breathed a sigh of relief. Finally!...to be done with the others...to be alone.

As she turned, she caught her breath at the sight. What she had thought was a desolate hiding place, safe from all reminders of her loss, was alive with green plants and many colored flowers. They were overgrown and tangled.

She covered her eyes for days, not wanting even to see the mess of a garden that was within her precious walls.

Gradually, she began to peek at things as she walked through the garden. She could tell that it had originally been planted in an orderly way - beauty created from symmetry. Finally one day she found her resolve under an apple tree and set to work cleaning up the sanctum.

She found the work hard and at times painful. She would sometimes have to bend a young branch back and forth, back and forth, before it would break off - revealing beneath it another path or bed of flowers. Sometimes she would tire of the tedium and plop down crying for a day or two, her hands red and swollen as her eyes.

But as she persevered and the garden began to take shape, she found it easier and easier to endure the pain of thorn pricks on her fingers and scrapes on her legs. She began to see that it was truly worth the pain and long hours of work...she lived in a beautiful garden.

Today she lives with the door to her garden open. She travels freely in and out and sometimes invites another to visit her. But each day she closes the door for a while and alone she tends her garden.

By Patti H.