Kimberly's Secret Garden
(by Jo Anzalone 8-5-1996 for my first grandchild)
Slowly Kimberly opened the door. It was light and opened
easily at her touch for it was made of very thin strips of
willow, woven together like a basket. Blue morning glory vines
had crossed its hinges, spreading over it a covering of green
leaves and sky-colored blossoms. In the center of the door, a
heart-shaped opening had been left by its weaver. Even though
the door led to Kimberly's most special place, there was no lock,
nor key. Kimberly wanted it to be so, for she came many times
each day through the door. She wanted it light and easily
opened, with no fuss or bother.
She smiled to herself in happy anticipation, two dimples
appearing on her smooth cheeks. The long, full skirt of her
white cotton dress brushed against her ankles as she stepped
across the threshold. An early June breeze caught the wide
ruffle of white lace at her round, scooped neckline, lifting it
like the petals of a flower. About her waist was a wide, blue
satin ribbon, whose long ends hung like streamers down her
white skirt. Her hair fell in loose waves to her hips, and atop
her head she word a crown of daisies she had fashioned that
Inside the door was a narrow path, covered with sweet-
smelling cedar chips, which led off to her right in a gentle
curve. It was lined on both sides with low borders of forget-
me-nots, their tiniest of blue flowers brilliant in the light. The
light was always brighter on this side of the door, so all the
colors glowed and seemed fuller and richer. Yet, at the same
time, there was a softness to the light, blending any sharp edges
into a flowing harmony of form. Behind the forget-me-nots
were clumps of baby's breath, their airy white blossoms looking
very much like lace. Backing them were pink roses, then pale
lavender lilacs. The garden was filled with the mingled perfume
of lilac and roses and Kimberly closed her eyes, breathing in the wondrous aroma.
Everything was so beautiful here. The gentle breeze caressed
her cheeks and seemed to whisper, "I'm so glad you're here." She
smiled again, her heart filling with a great happiness. This was
where she belonged. This was her home.
She watched the fluttering dance of four small white
butterflies above the blue forget-me-nots. A larger, yellow
butterfly sat on the highest pink rose as though it were a
throne. Kimberly laughed happily and said, "Oh, dear, sweet
butterfly, how wise you are to choose that for your throne.
The satin smoothness of pink petals is much better than the
hardness of richest gold." Then she stood in silence so she
could hear the sound of the butterfly's slowly moving wings.
From the rose garden, over the baby's breath, across the forget-
me-nots, it came softly to her listening ears, "ho-ly, ho-ly, h0-ly."
She was so thankful that her ears had learned to listen beyond
the realm of hearing so that she could be aware of all the hidden
voices in her garden. Kneeling next to the forget-me-nots, she
heard their song like the tiniest of tinkling bells..."Never forgotten...never forgotten." This was their song inside her
garden. She knew that forget-me-nots outside her garden sang
a different tune..."Don't forget me...don't forget me." The song
of the baby's breath had no words, its melody being made of
low, contented murmurings. The roses sang of the joy of being
lifted up on strong stems into the morning light, while the
clusters of lilacs nodded their lavender heads together, repeating
a single-note song, "Peace...peace...peace...peace." All the songs
blended into one harmonious choir in Kimberly's ears. She
breathed the mingled fragrances as she listened, and thought
of how the blue and white and pink and lavender rows of
flowers, each taller than the one in front of it, made their own symphony of color.
Following the little path around its curve she came to a
flat area of emerald green grass with a small pond to her left.
Beyond the pond was a low, rocky hill shaded by a pink
magnolia tree in full bloom. A clear stream cascaded down
the rocks between the ferns and ivy, its series of little waterfalls making a gurgle that always sounded to her like laughter.
There was something so happy, so joyous about the water as it
splashed from rock to rock, bouncing its way down the slope.
Kimberly sat on the largest of the flat rocks that edged the pool
and dangled the fingers of her right hand in its cool water. Two
large goldfish with long, fan-like tails lived in the pond. The
pale creamy yellow one she called Moonglow swam over and
touched her hand with its nose. Soon Sunset, a deep golden fish
with tones of red, joined them and the bubbles they made rose
to the surface of the pond, popping open and spreading out in
little ripples that sang, "Rejoicing... rejoicing." She fed them
bread crumbs from her pocket, then getting to her feet, walked
in her white satin slippers with blue ribbon ties to a young
willow tree, where a white birdhouse with a pink roof hung
on a low branch. Tiny wrens fluttered in and out of the round entrance, carrying bits of dried grass for their nest. She held
out her hand and one of the wrens hopped onto her finger,
cocking its head and singing a sweet song of the contentment
of making a home in this garden. Kimberly lightly stroked the
top of its head and said, "Thank you, little friend," before the
wren went back to its nesting.
A few steps away there was a bench made of small
branches fitted together in an intricate design. Daffodils
by the hundreds spread their yellow-skirted flowers beside it,
while not far behind it was a graceful arbor dripping with
ripe purple grapes. In Kimberly's garden it was both springtime
and harvest, for all the growing seasons were there together.
She sat on the bench and thought about this as her gaze rested
on a large white rosebush with clusters of lavender crocus all
about its base. Only in this garden could crocus and rose bloom together. Only here did grapes hang ripely beside the daffodils.
All the flowers, all the fruit, all together.
She heard the soft whisper of footsteps crossing the grass
and, without turning her head, smiled, knowing Who it was. It
was for this that she came into her secret garden so many times
each day, sometimes staying there for hours. A large form,
dressed in purest white, settled down on the bench beside her.
Kimberly turned her head then, looking up into a face radiant
with beauty. All the songs in the garden flowed toward that
face, finding in it their reason and their source, their purpose
and their destination. Being here with Him was all that mattered.
He enfolded her small hand tenderly inside His large one and
grace and glory flooded through her. His love for her wrapped
around her like a cape and she could feel the warmth of it in
all her being. How safe she felt, how full of joy and hope and
This secret garden, this garden where flowers sang and
waters laughed, was inside of Kimberly's heart. This garden
was where she came to meet with Him. This was His garden,
planted in her by Him, watered and cared for by Him. Its
flowers bloomed because of His presence, its vines bore fruit
because He was there. Kimberly had made the door to her
garden light, quickly opened, and covered with morning
gloried beauty so she could come and go wtih ease. But as she
sat beside Him on the bench, her hand in His, His radiant face
smiling down at her with such understanding and love, she
knew that even such a door as that was too much. Surely it
was not made of thick oaken planks nor heavy bars of iron,
but, yes, it WAS still a door, and a door, by its very nature,
can be shut. She felt a strength flowing into her through His
hand, a strength to will only what He willed. As His strength
and love rose up and up through her, Kimberly opened her
mouth and said, "My Lord, will You come across this garden
with me to the doorway of my heart, and there will You
remove it from its hinges, laying it aside, that there may no
longer be any barrier, no matter how light, how flower-covered, between You and me?"
Kimberly's Lord smiled and said, "Yes, this will I do. Then
the garden which is in your heart will grow through the doorless entryway, and your mind will bloom, your body will sing, and
your spirit will bear fruit. Your whole being will become My
garden and we, you and I, will be together every hour."
He stood in front of her, holding out His hand again, and
saying, "Arise, My beloved, and come with Me."
Kimberly rose quickly to her feet, placing her hand in His,
and lifting her sweet voice, she sang, "O Lamb of God, I come...I
Then, hand in hand, they walked together across the
emerald green grass to open forever the doorway to Kimberly's
(written when Kimberly was still just two months old)
BACK TO INDEX