Garden of Light
Note: I wrote this short story back in the spring. It was an assignment for a creative writing class I took online and it was also based on a dream I had one night.
Sarah stood in the middle of a lawn, gazing at the garden that spread out around her. It consisted of flowering shrubs of various sizes and textures: Hydrangeas, rhododendrons, azaleas; a large peony, and at least two other shrubs she recognized but had forgotten their names. The various colours of their flower heads complimented each other well yet the sunshine, so intense and so wonderfully warm against her skin, accentuated the colours on all of those shrubs, making them more brilliant and beautiful, a garden of light.
The grass underneath her feet felt so soft, almost too soft to be grass Sarah thought as she walked over to one of the hydrangeas; one that boasted white flower heads that were larger than her head. A smile spread across her face.
It had been a year since her last gardening job. Sarah always loved flowers and nature. They held a special place in her heart and in her life, but she didn't always enjoy the work involved with keeping a garden clean and pristine, so she decided to pursue a career as a personal trainer thinking that it was the perfect career choice for her. Fitness was another big passion of Sarah's and the idea of helping other people better their health and level of fitness greatly appealed to her. She studied hard to obtain her certificate and was off to a stellar start in her new career as a personal trainer when the lockdown put an end to a career that seemed so promising.
Sarah jerked her head when she heard a loud rumble in the distance. The garden was located near a beach, so it overlooked an expanse of ocean and the mountains of Vancouver Island beyond. Her face crumpled into a frown when she saw a wall of black clouds gathered on the horizon. She didn't recall seeing a thunderstorm in the forecast.
"Sarah, what are you doing here?"
Sarah jumped at the sound of a familiar voice. She turned to see her past employer Lorna approach unexpectedly. Lorna was a stalky older woman with wispy grey hair, steel blue eyes and an edgy sense of humour. She was also a master gardener. She had taught Sarah all she needed to know about gardening even though she wasn't the easiest woman to work for much of the time.
Sarah was at a complete loss of words. How did Lorna get here and why was she here? She wanted to toss those questions to Lorna, but she somehow couldn't.
"I thought you moved away from here," Lorna remarked.
Sarah fixed her eyes on the white hydrangea once more. Their brightness faded somewhat as the sky began to darken. "I did. But I came back here for a little visit," she said.
"Well that's nice," Lorna said. “How goes your fitness classes?"
Sarah shot Lorna an incredulous look. She had grown accustomed to Lorna's offhanded remarks, but this one almost felt like a stab in the chest. Was Lorna really that oblivious to the recent world events?
"They're not actually, so I've decided to get back into gardening," she said.
Lorna cocked one eyebrow. "You do seem to change your mind quite a bit."
Sarah grew hot in the face. She wanted to retort, defend her reasons for her career changeover, but she knew that Lorna was right. She never seemed to stick with one thing long enough to become an expert at it.
"But then again, it's been one hell of a year and I sense it's dealt you a rough card."
Sarah gulped hard. The gentle breeze had quickly grown into a strong wind, the rain came down hard and heavy and a crack of thunder boomed above them, making Sarah's heart beat faster against her chest. Lorna though, remained calm, untroubled by the storm.
"I know it's really hard right now, but God does have a plan for you and all will be well in time."
Lorna's voice was unusually soft, but it brought great comfort to Sarah.
"Yes. Thank you," she whispered. She fixed her eyes on the shrubs once more. Their leaves and flower heads were bobbing in the wind, like colourful beacons of light dancing in the storm.