Small Miracles, Magnificent Gifts

I‘ve always believed in miracles. I’ve known some really big ones in my family.

Big miracles are like the fireworks on the Fourth of July — they make an instant impression amid the ooohs, and ahhhs, and the jaws that drop. Small miracles are different; they give us joy when life is easy and good, and peace and comfort when things aren’t quite going our way.

Our small miracle this summer has been in these flowers. In April, I planted my usual three to four flats of impatiens, in red and white; caladiums, fuschias, New Guinea impatiens and some ferns. In May, we had to cut down a huge tree in the middle of our yard, the very tree that provided the shade for my flower bed. As my once-shady spot was now receiving several hours of full afternoon sun, I held out little hope that my plants would continue to flourish.

I’ve been proven wrong. Here’s Exhibit A. In these 99 – 100-degree temperatures here in South Hell Memphis in August, these babies have somehow survived. In fact, they’ve done better than my tomatoes, which are withering in the heat. This container is at the back corner of the bed, and gets the most direct heat. And now, in mid-August in Memphis, they still bloom. I’m going with miracle. These flowers are not supposed to be alive, let alone blooming.

These impatiens are the ones who have borne the brunt of the July and August afternoon sun. A little leggy, but I think they're doing darn well considering.

These impatiens are the ones who have borne the brunt of the July and August afternoon sun. A little leggy, but I think they’re doing darn well considering.

caladium

This is the shadier side of the bed, but these plants still get more sun than they like. And still bloom.

It hasn’t been the best of summers for us, but this yard remains, as always, a sanctuary from stress and struggle. A quiet place where the birds sing so loudly you sometimes wish they would tone it down a bit. Where our dogs run and chase sticks and the other dogs they hear behind the fence. On our (at least) 10-year-old patio table I’ve set many a glass of wine, numerous books, and held too many outdoor work sessions on my laptop to count.

gazing-ball

See the hanging ferns? They just do not do sun. At least not normally, but this year, in my garden …

It’s not perfect by any means; Southern Living won’t be scheduling the photo shoot any time soon. But it’s ours. And, really, impatiens in afternoon sun in August? Miracle.

sunlight

The day winds down as Jim puts chicken on the grill.

Don’t believe in miracles? That’s your prerogative. As for us, we’ll just keep enjoying our garden.

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