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Lions Roar : July 2014
The Heart of a Garden The pond in karen maezen miller’s garden isn’t like those designer ones decorating fancy homes and magazine covers. In time, however, she discovers the right view of her muddy waters: they’re not always pretty, but they are beautiful. May we exist in muddy water with purity like the lotus. — Meal Gatha we weren’t doInG tHe worK all by ourselves. We had a yard guy. The yard guy introduced us to a tree guy, and the tree guy suggested a sprinkler guy. The sprinkler guy knew a fertilizer guy whose brother-in-law was a fence guy. Before we did anything, though, we talked to a Japanese garden guy and asked him what we should do. he said, “Spend twenty thousand dollars.” That wasn’t going to happen. not for a long while. The cost of real estate in California can render anyone poor. We had been lucky to get in at the bottom of the market, buy- ing the house for a little more than half of what it had sold for ten years earlier. But it was still a squeeze, and my prospects for work seemed slim. With twenty years of experience, I was over- qualified for the few jobs out there and underqualified for the PhOTOBYThEAuThOR job right here. This was upsetting. I thought I knew how to get things done, but I was at ground zero and already over my head. The roof needed replacing and the house needed to be repainted. There were creep- ing signs that the shower stall leaked. The air conditioner broke on a day when it was 115 degrees. I knew everything was old, but did it have to be so old ? neither was the garden quite what it looked like on that first innocent encounter when we’d viewed the house with the real estate agent. Junipers had been left to wither, their arms outstretched in rigor mortis. Aging azaleas had massed into a thicket of nearly bare branches. The pruning had been botched. The hardiest plants were ones that weren’t supposed to be in a Japanese garden at all. here and there were the errors of some- one’s misguided intentions—a Mexican palm, a pink rose bush, a baby apple tree. In our eyes, the offenses kept growing. The author’s garden, spring 2014 SHAMBHALA SUN JULy 2014 19