Letting go

Now that it comes to handing over the garden we made from not much to another couple, we worry what they will do to it. This haibun is for Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday challenge, using Magic and Fairy as prompt words.

Photo ©Ronald Saunders


Where did it go the magic in this plot of earth, for centuries breathing between walls built by men? When did it decide to shrink back to the core, to draw in its roots and ravel up the climbing tendrils of growth? Dry now, black loam sucked grey and listless, it bakes in the sun, littered with shrivelled leaf and the careless refuse of hands that never gardened, never used a hoe or a spade. We tried, feeding it with compost and watering the dusty crust, but our tender gestures came too late. The deepest roots are failing, flowers falling and leaves spotted with fatigue. Soon there will be a swimming pool here, and plastic grass for sun loungers.

I never thought it possible to kill the spirit of the earth with neglect.


Dust blows in the wind,

dog barks behind a window,

cars flash past, sightless.



Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

35 thoughts on “Letting go”

  1. Excellent! I love your gift of prose! What a great take on the prompt words. We lived in a house for 17 years. It was the same for us. My garden was planted over with grass, destroying the magical flowers I had tended with love. Such is the passage of time. What one person nutures, another destroys. ❤

    1. Several people have made the remark that they would put in a ‘real’ garden. Real gardens have a lawn and a pool. Ours isn’t real because, like yours, it’s full of flowers. Really full! It looks like hard work to some folk.

      1. Yes, but so fulfilling! I will have to take some pictures of my Colorado garden to share. Quite different from what I’ve done in the past. It’s getting hard to lug those bags of compost! LOL! ❤

  2. A pool is such a waste. Our house came with a pool when we bought it and I have never stopped regretting. Though yesterday at 103F, pool water at 82F(unheated)was really inviting😊.

    1. When we were looking for a house, we specifically asked for NO pool. It costs a fortune to fill them in 🙂 Problem in our European countries is that gardens are small, and the pool goes in the place where there is most sun so that it can be used for longer. When it’s 103° who wants to be in the full sun? You’d boil alive!

      1. Aha! but the pool was in shade at 7:00 PM and it was nice to be in the pool.☺
        I agree about the filling. Making water company rich, but I can’t afford to close the pool also.

      1. Maybe it is futile, but since each one of us is ‘the people surrounding’ for others, we still have to set and example. Maybe a few people will follow it 🙂

  3. I hope the people who bought your place appreciate the garden. People have such different ideas of what houses and yards should be like. When we moved into our house, there was hideous dark fake wood paneling on some of the walls, brown drapes, and ugly carpets on every floor–even the kitchen. Now we have wood floors and brightly colored walls. Some people would probably hate it. 🙂 I hate gardening, but I do love gardens. I’ve never wanted a pool. We would have to chop down the old oak tree–can you imagine?
    It is sad to say good-bye, but new adventures await you. 🙂

    1. I hope they keep what is natural in the garden. There’s little enough of that in town. Digging up an oak tree to put in a pool! No, I can’t imagine it. We’ve just come back from a flying visit to clean up the attic and part of the barn ready for the removal. I don’t know exactly what we’ll be sharing with, but since husband was there last week, something has dug through the roof tiles into the attic, and rather more disturbing, something else has burrowed under the wall of our bedroom. Judging from the pile of earth in the corner of the room, I’d say it was digging its way out.

      1. He was charming, actually. We didn’t know about the other residents though at the time, and he was very reticent about even setting foot in the barn…

    1. I’d rather not know what’s going to happen to our garden, but if the new owners say they’re going to tear up all the plants, we can at least take as many with us as possible.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s