Thinking about THE SECRET GARDEN -- Jane Kelley

Spring is coming! I have raked a few dead leaves and uncovered miracles. Peonies, bluebells, iris, rhubarb are all poking their heads up from the soil. 

I think of one of my favorite books -- THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I loved it as a child because I felt exactly like Mary -- misguided and misunderstood. But now I have a new appreciation for what she asks of her uncle, the owner of the estate.

"Might I," quavered Mary, "might I have a bit of earth?"

Haven't I asked exactly the same thing of the world? Might I have a bit of soil in which to grow an idea? Of space to create something? And might it be mine and mine alone? For if the garden remains secret, it can, by patient work, be transformed before other more critical eyes are upon it.

And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.

Yes, well, maybe there aren't miracles in my garden EVERY morning. Except this one -- that there is another day in which to do our best in whatever garden we have. Weed out the thistles. Tend to the roses. Pause to appreciate the birds. 

Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden -- in all the places.

The earth spins; we angle toward the sun. The days grow longer. Spring returns. Intellectually I understand the reason for all this, and yet it does seem like magic. 

So do books. As Katherine Paterson said, "Reading can be a road to freedom or a key to a secret garden, which, if tended, will transform all of life."

The gate is open. Walk in. 


  1. Love the garden analogy and all the possibilities that "spring forth" this time of year. Thanks for the reminder of a great book. I'm going to pick it up and read it again.

  2. Ah, yes. I spent the entire weekend with my fingers in the dirt myself...

  3. Thank you for this lovely invitation inspired by one of my most beloved books.


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