The Mind Garden – A Poem

I came uponimages

a doorway. It

was tall and

narrow and was

made from old

wood painted red

that had faded

over time in

the sun. The

doorway was unremarkable

except for two

reasons: It stood

in the middle

of a parking

lot and from

the open door

there came the

sound of laughter.

A boy came

out and looked

at me. He wore

round glasses and

had a dark brown

mop of hair.

He smiled, the

smile filled with

gaps. He let out

another loud laugh.

“Do you want to come see the garden?”

I looked around to

see if the

boys parents were

around, but there was

no one. He

laughed loudly again.

“Don’t be afraid. You’ll be okay.”

“Where are your parents?”

I asked him.

Surely, he wasn’t

alone. He grinned.

“They’re close. They’re your parents! Come on!”

Beckoning with one

hand, he raced

away from the

doorway. He stood,

looking at me,

a smile still

playing upon his

lips. He was standing

in what looked

to be a large

meadow surrounded by

trees. I went

around to the

back of the

doorway, but there

was nothing. Only

a brick wall

and some grease

stains. I went

back around to

the front and

looked inside again.

The boy still

stood there, looking

at me with

twinkling, bright eyes.

“Come on! There’s nothing to be afraid of!”

I nodded, not

trusting myself to

speak. Stepping over

the threshold of

the door, there

was a loud rushing

sound and my

ears popped from

sudden pressure. Then

I was through,

and my ears

cleared. The boy

reached for my

hand. When our

fingers touched, a

wind began to

dance in the

grass and flew

upwards. I looked

at the boy.

“What was that?”

He took his

time before he

answered my question.

“The meadow remembers you. Come on, the garden isn’t that far.”

He pulled me

along and within

moments, we were

at the entrance

of a small

garden. There were

orchids and roses,

petunias and chrysanthemums,

tiger lilies and

ivy. There were

flowers of every

kind, but they

were all relatively

small, as if

they had just

started to grow.

I looked beyond

the small garden

and saw another

one behind it.

I pointed with

a shaking hand.

“What’s over there? What’s that garden?”

The boys face

darkened. He looked

sad all of

a sudden, as

if the other

garden held nightmares.

“That’s the dead garden. Nothing grows there anymore.”

He could see

from my face

that I wanted

to explore it.

So he led

the way, keeping

hold of my

hand. As we

walked, a question

occurred to me.

“If this garden is dead, how did the new one grow?”

The boy laughed

again and the

breeze responded in

kind, laughing among

the grass. The

boy looked at

me with strangely

serious, mature eyes.

“Do you really not know?”

I shook my

head, but an

answer came to

me moments before

he said it.

“They come from imagination. From ideas. All you have to do is think of it and the ideas will grow.”

He led on

until we came

to the dead

garden. It’s plants

were all dead

and none that

I could name.

It was filled

with spiky plants

that looked as

if they were

ready to draw

blood should we

touch one. I

looked at the

boy, trying to

find my voice.

“Did ideas grow this garden too?”

He nodded, a

tear sliding down

his cheek. He

made no effort

to wipe it

off his face.

“Yours. It was your ideas and imagination that caused both gardens to grow.”

I was shaken

but his words

had the ring

of truth to

them. I asked

the first thing

that came to

mind, letting the

words spill out.

“How could I grow this?”

“You were unhappy. The thoughts that you have hold power. What’s inside your mind takes root in the real world.”

“Then why does the other garden exist?”

The boy let

out a hearty

laugh and squeezed

my hand tightly.

“Because your better now. We’re better.”

I looked back

at the healthy

garden, so full

of life. Then

I looked at

the dead garden.

“I want you to help me to do something. Will you?”

“Of course.”

“If imagination caused this garden, maybe new thoughts, new ideas, will make it better again.”

I was pretty

sure I knew

who the boy

was, what he

was. He nodded

and took both

my hands. I

took a deep

breath and imagined

life growing around

us, coming out

of the dark

soil. There was

nothing at first,

but then we

both heard the ground

around us begin

to crack and

rumble. It shook

for a moment

and then grass

shot out of

the ground where

before there was

only black, burnt

earth. Trees shot

up out of

the ground, their

leaves green and

whole. Flowers slid

out of the ground

with small pops,

hundreds of them,

thousands of them.

Gone was the

black earth and

the plants that

looked as if

they would draw

blood. In the

trees, I could

hear birdsong. I

looked down at

the boy, smiling.

“We did it!”

I couldn’t help

letting out a

loud, joyful laugh.

He nodded, smiling

“You did it. You did all of this.”

I looked at

him, really looked

at him closely.

“You’re me, aren’t you? My inner child? You look exactly as I did when I was younger. I don’t know why I didn’t see it before.”

He nodded again.

“Because you couldn’t.”

“Then where are we? Where is this place?”

He gave me

a big grin.

“Would you believe me if I said we’re inside your mind?”

I didn’t need

to think of

a proper response.

“Yes. I would. It’s the only thing that makes sense. But how do I get out?”

“The way you came. Remember, what you imagine is given life and anything is possible.”

I turned to

walk back through

the doorway. The

boy didn’t move.

“Aren’t you coming with me?”

I asked him.

“No, I think I’ll stay here for a while longer. Now that you’ve found me again, I won’t ever be far away. Never forget me, Okay?”

“I won’t. I promise.”

I turned towards

the doorway, the

trees and plants

swaying in a

soft breeze. As

I stepped back

through the doorway,

I looked back

through the door.

There was my

inner child, playing

amongst the trees

and flowers, with

joy written on

his face and

laughter in his

heart. I closed

the door, knowing

he’d be safe

now and began

to make my

way home again.

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