Lost and found

In spring, time moves quickly.  Mornings have lightened then become darker once more with the winding forwards of the clocks.  The dawn chorus seeps through my open window each day and wakes me half an hour before my alarm.  The park at the end of the road has had its first mowing, and the scent of cut grass soaks the air.  A woodpecker has begun to frequent the trees.  I hear him drumming out his territory and sometimes glimpse red feathers glimmering in the sun.

In this most mercurial season, nature is a show-off, throwing everything at us to demonstrate what she can do.  One day, she paints the leaden sky with a thick, bright rainbow.  On the next, she sends snow.  Just when I’ve begun to forget the cold, I’m walking in soaking flakes, grass coated white, bushes laden.  Bulrush heads are like soggy sticks of candy floss dusted with icing.

The snow soon melts and days of mist follow, but it doesn’t stop the industry of the birds.  A great tit calls loudly from the maple, sparrows hop and chitter in the privet, starlings mewl and pigeons forage.  There is no sign of life from the smallest maple in the park, the harbinger of autumn that I had feared dead.  But a new tree has appeared from nowhere.  The label tells me it was planted officially, but with trees there is always the possibility of enchantment.  I feel responsible for it, such a small sapling among mature neighbours.  I fear vandalism.  But it seems strong, is already full of buds.  I hope it makes it.

In my last post, I wrote about giving up on a story.  My elderly protagonist is still enjoying an early retirement, but I found myself thinking about what happens to all those ideas when they don’t get used.  And as the spring snow was falling around me, I happened upon a curious place….

The garden of lost ideas by Andrea Stephenson

There is no path to the garden of lost ideas. You will never find your way here accidentally, except perhaps in dreams. It is cloistered by briars an eternity thick. Its walls are far too high to climb. If there is a gate, it is not a gate that can be seen.

There are no seasons in this garden, and there is every season at once. Its gardeners are enigmatic creatures, born of leaf and twig, fur and horn.

Seeds drift across the garden like pollen, an infinity of golden floss that gilds the foliage. The gardeners sieve and sift, capture seeds in spindly fingers. They plant them in rich dark loam, and tend each one with care and patience. An unfinished painting here, an untold story there, forgotten thoughts, abandoned sketches, lost notebooks and torn canvases. All find their way here eventually. This is a garden of second chances and its gardeners are the shepherds of lost ideas.

The flowers that bloom here are fragile. Stalks as thin as thread, petals as sheer as gossamer. No one flower like another. The garden overflows with delicate beauties that shimmer in the moonlight. The gardener never knows which will successfully bloom and which will wither; which will sprout and which will remain soil-bound, perhaps forever. So she tends each frail bloom, charming them with lilting whispers.

Sometimes, those fragile blooms will burst. Their colours will grow more vibrant, their petals more substantial. And then the gardener knows her work is done. Somewhere in the world outside the garden the idea has found its purpose once more. The flower grows not only in the garden, but in someone’s imagination. A tale has been told. A picture has been painted. The idea is no longer lost, but has been found.


Blogger book of the month: Britt Skrabanek – Nola Fran Evie

Britt Skrabanek is an enthusiastic, positive and energetic blogger, currently experimenting with creative memoir on her blog.  I’ve enjoyed all of her engaging and unique books: Everything is Not Bigger is a story of identify and self-discovery, Beneath the Satin Gloves is a time slip spy story.  But I think her third book Nola Fran Evie is the best she has written yet. The true story behind this book is as fascinating as the book itself – a vintage handbag, found by the author, containing baseball tickets from 1954, a voting receipt and a shopping list.  From these finds, Britt has woven a wonderful story of the lives of four women. Nola, Fran and Evie meet when they play baseball for the All American Girls Professional Baseball league during the 40s and 50s. When the league folds in 1954, their lives take them in different directions, until one fateful day they’re brought back together again. Their stories take in love, loss, disappointment, jazz and the civil rights movement. And interwoven with the stories of these women from the past is the present-day story of Jacks, who will also have a role to play in continuing their story. This book is a fantastic read. The characters come to life on the page and at turns, you root for each of them. It is funny, moving, nostalgic and fast-paced.  Britt’s books have just been published as paperbacks and are also available as ebooks.  You can visit Britt’s blog here, and her Amazon author page here.

121 thoughts on “Lost and found

  1. Love your Garden of Lost Ideas … And, hey, isn’t spring moving on. Though there are days, still, when I’d rather let my fingers walk the [key]board than to whisper, go on, do it, to my feet on the street.

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  2. Another mesmerizing post. I think you could make your Garden of Lost Ideas into a marvelous prose poem or free verse. This book review is the first one from an author I’ve never met. I looked at her Amazon page and find two fo the books irresistible. Thanks for the introduction. Pat

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the Garden – and only wish there was a gate – although it’s best to wait outside the gate!
    It reminded me (quite frankly for no reason at all) of William Blake’s Book of Thel:
    Ah! Thel is like a watry bow and like a parting cloud,
    Like a reflection in a glass, like shadows in the water
    Like dreams of infants, like a smile upon an infants face,
    Like the doves voice, like transient day, like music in the air.

    I guess it’s sort of like the tendering that happens in your Lost Garden!

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  4. Your pictures and prose are so very enchanting as usual, Andrea.
    That “Garden of Lost Ideas” is absolutely beautiful.
    And I have to agree with you. “Nola Fran Evie” by Britt was a wonderful read. I loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your image and description of a Garden of Lost Ideas. And your elegant description of returning Spring is so true.

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  6. Andrea, I am enchanted by this post of yours. Your walk through the spring garden that plays with you. Sunny and flowers, snow and rainbows …..
    So very sensitive.

    Your poem ” Garden of lost ideas ” is beautifully written and shows how those
    ideas can grow to fruition with tender gardening.
    My all yours come to fruition.

    Miriam

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  7. I really enjoyed the garden analogy of ‘lost ideas.’ Words and books certainly seed our minds every day. And thanks for the book recommendation, it sounds intriguing. I just finished reading ‘The Red Notebook’ by Antoine Laurain, a somewhat similar story about a man who finds a woman’s handbag in a trash bin (she’d been mugged, so no wallet or phone) and sets out to find her based on the clues he found within it.

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  8. Always an enchanting read Andrea, yes I think Spring is playing with us, one minute its warm the next we have freezing temps and frost.. We didn’t get the snow settled, just the odd flakes, but bitter winds..
    Your garden of lost ideas just beautiful to read.. Seems you have find the flow again, as Spring brings us renewal ❤

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  9. What a beautiful idea–that garden would be a special place. I’m fascinated with your creative ability in this realm of storytelling. And the book you review intrigues me very much, as well!

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  10. I know that garden. It’s always a surprise to see what begins to sprout again after lying dormant. Your spring sounds like how it is in my part of the world- a very gradual awakening. Thaw/freeze/sunshine/mist/wind/calm. I’m looking out at a fresh dusting of snow covering the pine trees. It will most likely be gone in a few hours. Beautiful words and photos, as usual.

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  11. I love your thoughts on spring (and how Mother Nature throws everything at us) and your Garden of Lost Ideas. I always hope that the ideas I put aside, at least those that might be good ideas, get picked up again somewhere else, perhaps by someone else.

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  12. This is a garden of second chances and its gardeners are the shepherds of lost ideas…. Andrea, I adore this line. To read your posts is to inhale a sublime fragrance and see the air around one burst into delicate blossom. I wish I could be as prolific a blogger as you.
    Thank you!

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  13. I was drawn into you awakening with the dawn chorus as think it was a Robin that woke me this morning in my English home by the Penines. But I am blown away by your garden of lost ideas. I sometimes come across mine on my notes pages on the iPad. Far more prosaic but these are the half captured ones that then become forgotten! Britt’ work seems interesting and will investigate.

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  14. They say failed scientific experiments have sometimes led to some great new discoveries. Perhaps ‘lost ideas’ are not lost at all, but the seeds to greater things to come. Enjoy more of your delightful, but unpredictable spring.

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  15. Beautiful writing as always, Andrea.
    It’s a mercurial season alright. Overnight, our house and garden grew an icy shell of sleet and the whole day it has been falling off in great chunks. But this weekend we are expecting warmer weather.
    Thanks for the book recommendation – it sounds intriguing. 😊

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  16. Andrea, a superlative post and I love all the three elements! Your Garden of Lost Ideas is wonderful and inspired! It gives a tender context to our seeds of ideas, their budding nature and how it’s okay that only a few flower in the imagination of the reader. Oh, Spring is a fickle beast … one has to bend to the variety of weathers and take heart as you do in the surrounding nature, the steadfastness of the birds! Here in Sweden this Easter we are blessed with the regular visit of two cranes striding regally across the land! Thank you for the recommendation of Britt’s book – one I’ve been meaning to read and your review here makes me even more eager.

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  17. What an inspiring and beautiful post Andrea. This just popped into my head while reading it …

    A garden Fantasia

    I wander there with childish delight,
    Every time I go to bed and put out the light. I should be lonely, but oh the joy as I toy with ideas lost – to return as dreams at night. In this garden of delight.

    Now I know my ideas are safe.

    Thank you for writing this.

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  18. Andrea, the garden of lost ideas is beautiful. As someone who has drawers full of half-stories, half-books, half-fleshed-out ideas, I am so inspired by this magical garden. And it’s a hopeful feeling, too. Whatever is meant to be, will be. So wonderful! I’m going to print it out and post it by my desk to remind me that all things in their own time. As for the spring snow—well, that also falls under all things in their own time!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Oh, how I love the garden of lost ideas! I grow one, too, you see, I simply had no clue what it was until your prose put everything right for me. Thank you for the clarity. Also for this: “…with trees there is always the possibility of enchantment” – such a beautiful, hopeful phrase you turned there. I feel the same about trees. And now I leave you with this glad, if slightly borrowed thought: With Andrea Stephenson there is always the possibility of enchantment. Indeed there is.

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  20. Love your post. Thank you for painting such a lovely picture, and the pictures are like awaiting Spring to show on baited breath 😊🌼
    I am so glad I found your blog, today’s post soothed that unknown freting energy inside me. 💜

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  21. What a beautiful testament to Mother Nature. We grumble if we have to go out in the snow or rain, complain when it’s too hot and/or humid. When she bestows a glorious day on us, however, we’re too busy with our rat race to enjoy more than perhaps a few moments of it. Your words painted a true picture of all of Mother Nature’s season-changing glories, and I felt like I was standing beside you looking at the same views as you described them.

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  22. It sounds like spring is slowly but surely coming your way, Andrea. Those dark mornings will again be more brighter very soon 🙂 I like your write up of the garden of lost ideas. Some ideas, some flowers, come around, some don’t. That’s the cycle of nature – the cycle of gardens to grow and bloom, repreat 🙂

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  23. Oh, a garden of lost ideas. How wonderful! And I’m relieved to know that those ideas aren’t truly lost. They’re in a thicket somewhere, perhaps, or a half bloom. And maybe, if watered correctly and attended to. that bloom of an idea will flower with gusto. I hope you realize that the story you “gave up” perhaps hasn’t given up on you. That perhaps your elderly protagonist is knocking your brain a bit with her cane, saying “let me in, LET ME IN!”

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  24. Glad you found The Garden of Lost Ideas, Andrea 🙂 They simply needed a good place to mature and get a second chance.
    Thank you for sharing Britt Skrabanek’s book. It sounds like a great read.

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  25. I love the Garden of Lost Ideas! What a wonderful way to put it, Andrea. If I stop to think about it too long, I imagine I can hear some of mine weeping quietly … ahhh, the guilt! But you remind me, I can still love them even if I can’t grow them outside that garden right now. Tx.

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  26. Mercurial is spot on! Yesterday, my son mowing the lawn in a t-shirt. Today, inches of snow. It’s Mother Nature’s own version of menopause, I guess:). And I love the bit about the garden of lost ideas–very poetically described. I have to hope it exists somewhere in the ether . . .

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  27. It is always a great time to read your posts ~ and this post is perfect for a cold day here. Every day there is potential, and sometimes at the end of a day when things don’t go right I wonder where this potential goes. Now I know 🙂 I think the weather has picked up nicely for you versus the cold and frost in your photos ~ wishing you a great week ahead.

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  28. Ideas are such curious things and I love how you incorporated them into a garden theme. Something I constantly find fascinating is how one person’s idea can bear fruit in someone else’s imagination. Thank you for all your inspiration.

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  29. Andrea, I so love your magical garden of lost ideas. It touched me deeply as your eloquent writing often does. My lost ideas are not so much about writing as they are about innovative projects to address localized human suffering. So many ideas never make it past the dreaming stage as political reality sets in, so I have turned to writing and teaching as ways to keep some of them alive as “fragile, gossamer” possibilities.

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  30. Love the visuals that come up for me here. Lost and found — it’s like a game, kind of like hide and seek. In the end, everything is well.

    I read Britt’s book and it’s so good! I’m really happy to see her take her writing journey on this level!

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  31. You captured this phenomenon well, Andrea, of the characters, thoughts, and lines that often go undeveloped in our creative minds. I have always felt when we are able to let go of a beautiful sentence, just delete it if it doesn’t work, or characters who don’t have enough to make a story at the current time, that a whole world opens up. The new world allows you freedom to go on with new ideas that fit better. A garden as you so beautifully describe it, is delightful.

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  32. My favourite part of this post is The Garden of Lost Ideas. I think I know that place Andrea, but until you brought it into being with your enchanting words, it was still amorphous, a place in the deep well of my imagination.

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