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Safe in my garden – thanks, Mamas and Papas

The neighbors, with dirt under their fingernails from their garden work, waved back to my greeting. I asked them if they enjoyed summer yesterday! “Perhaps next week, we will get another chance at it,” one of them said. “Sounds fine to me,” I replied.

The fact is I am not much of a garden person. It isn’t that I dislike gardens. It’s that all the plants to which I carefully give a new home go on strike when they see my purple, rather than a green, thumb through the hole in my glove. In spite of this little personal dispute my plants have with me, I still like gardens. I’ll keep trying to get on the good side of the hosta and the sedum, as well as the pansies in the bannister flower bed. Perhaps some day they will judge me by my intentions, not my lack of ability. Oh, happy day!! (if it ever arrives)

In any case, gardens were also on my mind today, while I was doing my bike ride and listening to some music on the MP3 player. All of a sudden, the random selection popped up the Mamas and the Papas singing “Safe In My Garden.” Struck by the imagery blossoming in my mind as I listened, I wanted to see the lyrics in black and white. So, once home, cleaned up, and at my desk, I found the music’s text at www.azlyrics.com. I could focus even more on “Safe In My Garden.” What would some “free association” produce?

Before going further, perhaps you would like to hear the music and read the lyrics. Click (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUJu4uid09M) to listen. The lyrics, by John Phillips, are:

Safe in my garden, an ancient flower blooms.
And the scent from its nature slowly squares my room;
And its perfume being such that it’s causing me to swoon.
Could it be we were hot-wired late one night while very tired?
They stole our minds and thought we’d never know it?
With a bottle in each hand; too late to try to understand.
We don’t care where it lands – we just throw it.

Somebody take us away…
Somebody take us away…

Safe in my garden, an ancient flower blooms.
And the scent from its nature slowly squares my room;
And its perfume being such that it’s causing me to swoon.
When you go out in the street, so many hassles with the heat;
No one there can fill your desire.
Cops out with the megaphones, telling people stay inside their home.
Man, can’t they see the world’s on fire?

Somebody take us away…take us away…
Take us away…take us away

Gardens, for many of us, convey images of peace, tranquility, meditation. I expect that few of us picture gang fights happening in a garden. I don’t envision screaming matches, women getting assaulted, or children getting slapped around by out-of-control adults. Murders in gardens? I am sure they have happened, but I guess they would be rather infrequent!!

What I do tend to associate with gardens are loving couples walking hand-in-hand, people looking closely at the flowers’ petals, and taking picture (many pictures) which will stir their memories of a pleasant outing, one “to be repeated” because of its joyful pleasure. And, of course, I associate spring weddings taking place in gardens, with their vows of commitment and fidelity.

Gardens – their connotations include safety, security, calmness, and blooming flowers.

Garden of Eden – according to the ancient Biblical creation account, a garden (Eden) was the home that God gave to the newly created humans. For how long (we don’t know long, but certainly for a good) while, the garden was the idyllic spot for the woman and man as they lived in harmonious love and cohesiveness. BUT, unfortunately, Eden was also where the natural love and devotion between humans and God, as well as between humans and humans, was all thrown away.

Garden of Gethsemane – where the kiss, that token of love and devotion, was besmirched by the one who betrayed Jesus.

And, today, we live in a world where the cry “Somebody take us away” captures the frustrations, the loneliness, the sense of betrayal, and the hopelessness that millions, and probably billions, of people endure.

Oh yes, I can understand the longing to be taken away to the Garden of God’s faithful presence. It only takes a realist to arrive at that conclusion.


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