Secret Garden

The Secret Garden by Tasha Tudor

When I was younger, I had a copy of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The cover had a single illustration by Tasha Tudor (above). I used to lay on my bed and stare at this picture. I wanted to discover a secret garden, more than anything. I was a plain little girl, just like Mary, and with a smart mouth too. I wanted a walled-in mystery, blooming in secret.


/ Come spirit, come charm
Come days that are warm
Come magical spell
Come help him get well /

Whenever I envision my little cottage by the sea, it always has a walled garden, with tangled wild roses behind ivy-draped walls. Never mind that I have no skill in gardening or even, really, the ability to keep potted plants alive. Apparently, the invisible gardeners will tend to them. The same ones that rake the paths and mulch the beds and weed and spray for bugs.

This garden should be behind an overgrown door with a rusty lock. The kind that only opens with a key hidden away. There should be stone benches beneath sagging willows and gurgling fountains ringed in green. There will be wild lavender and herbs and reckless overgrown roses and the smell will be transcendent.

On late sunny afternoons, when the shadows are long on the lawn, the only sound will be the buzzing of fat, self-satisfied bees, and the tinky-trickle of the water and the rush-rush of the wind through the branches.

There, the only other sound is the beat of my heart and I will be able to write to its content.

/ I need a place where I can go,
Where I can whisper what I know,
Where I can whisper who I like
And where I go to see them.

I need a place where I can hide,
Where no one sees my life inside,
Where I can make my plans, and write them down
So I can read them.

A place where I can bid my heart be still
And it will mind me.
A place where I can go when I am lost,
And there I’ll find me.

I need a place to spend the day,
Where no one says to go or stay,
Where I can take my pen and draw
The girl I mean to be /

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