The Medicine Garden

Elsa stopped at the herb bed and considered – sage; that should do the trick.  She bent to pinch off a few leaves and was irritated by a fly buzzing past her.   It wasn’t like her to be irritated by something in the natural world, even if it was a common house fly; it was the argument over breakfast that had rattled her, and she’d slammed outside on the pretext of getting something for Grigor’s sore throat.  It was true though, she would make him a gargle later, when she wasn’t so annoyed.  Elsa tucked the half dozen or so leaves in her apron pocket and sighed.  Why did Grigor have to be so pompous?

She lifted her gaze as a white-tailed bumble-bee zigzagged past.  There was a lot of clover in the wild patch this year.  Hopefully the bees had stopped by and the honey would have its dominant note.  She cast her gaze admiringly over the rest of the garden, wandering through the tangle of grasses and what most people thought of as weeds – heartsease,  chickweed, poppy, plantain, yarrow- miracles of nature provided for our use – as long as you know what to do with them of course.

Diverting through the vegetable patch, she noticed the new ‘crop’ of hairy bitter cress in the un-weeded bed, and knelt to pick some.  Most books wanted to eradicate the ‘troublesome invader’, but few mention that it is edible, and can be used like rocket in salads.  Bees love it too.  It ‘s a valuable nectar source in the early part of the year when there’s so little else about.  Funny how we de-value things that nature has a use for.

The pond sparkled in the early morning sunlight and Elsa was drawn to its magic.  She sat enchanted, watching a water boatman crank his way across the surface with barely a ripple.  A mosquito broke her gaze, and she turned her head.  She caught Grigor watching her from the window.  Had he been watching all the time?  She hadn’t noticed before.  She rippled a tentative wave, and he smiled, waving back.  She stepped the six stepping stones with springy steps, and almost skipped to the French doors.  Grigor opened the door for her. She took the sage leaves from her apron pocket, a peace offering.  They kissed.

She’d been in the garden no more than ten minutes probably, but Elsa felt healed, not quite sure what they’d argued about, but certain it wasn’t worth staying angry for the whole morning.


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