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Check out Dennis' debut novel
Soul Identity - Dennis Batchelder's debut novel
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little garden
By Dennis Batchelder 13 October 2000

once upon a time a little garden was built behind a new yellow house. the builder of the yellow house installed trellises and hanging flowerpots with comfortable benches for people to sit on. he put a picket fence all around the garden, and a small fountain in its center. in a large gum tree that grew in the corner; he hung a yellow birdhouse with a green roof. the builder wanted a place for people to come and relax and talk and laugh, and the little garden was happy that people would be able to come and enjoy its flowers and trees and benches.

when the house was finished, the little garden grew very excited. at last the time had come for a family to move in the yellow house! on moving day, the little garden couldn't wait to meet the family. soon there would be backyard picnics, and dinner parties, and lazy afternoons. the family would come and enjoy the flowers and listen to the fountain and sit on the benches.

but when the family arrived that morning, they didn't visit the little garden. they're too busy unpacking, thought the little garden. maybe they'll come tomorrow. but the family didn't visit the garden on the next day, or the next week, or at all. the family was just too busy to notice the little garden. they left the yellow house before the sun came up, and didn't come back until late at night. and on weekends, the family piled into a station wagon and drove away.

the little garden was puzzled. how could anybody be too busy to enjoy a garden? the little garden began to think that there was something wrong. maybe i'm not pretty enough, thought the little garden. maybe my chairs are not comfortable enough, or my fountain sounds off key.

eventually the family moved out of the yellow house, and the little garden waited for a new family to arrive. maybe the next family will be better, thought the little garden. but as time passed, nodody moved in to the yellow house, and the little garden was not cared for. withered vines clung to the trellises, and the flowerpots were empty. the paint on the benches was faded and peeling. the picket fence was missing some pickets, and the only water in the fountain was green and still. even the birdhouse was dirty and empty. the little garden was sad, because it seemed that nobody cared. maybe the builder of the yellow house was wrong, thought the little garden. maybe families really don't enjoy gardens, and maybe they don't like to relax and talk and laugh. maybe they don't enjoy flowers and trees and benches. and the little garden decided that it needed to be happy with its place in the world, and that it should no longer hope to make a family happy. this made the little garden feel a bit better, but it was still very sad.

one day a family came to visit the yellow house and the little garden. the little garden watched them. many families had come and looked, but each family left and never returned. but this family seemed different. they looked in every room of the yellow house. they walked through the little garden, and looked at the large gum tree. they wiggled the trellises, and inspected the fountain. when the family spoke to each other, they used the words "potential" and "possibilities". and the little garden began to hope.

very soon, the new family moved in to the yellow hosue, and for lunch, they had a picnic in the garden. and the very next day, the family started cleaning the garden. the pulled the old vines off the trellises, and planted pansies and gardenias in the flowerpots. they scraped and sanded and painted the benches, and replaced the missing pickets in the picket fence. they repaired the fountain, and filled it with fresh water. they painted the birdhouse.

the vines grew over the trellises, and the flowers grew. the water fountain bubbled cheerfully, and the new bird family in the yellow birdhouse sang beautiful melodies. and each day as the family came to the garden, the sounds of music, laughter, and happy people filled air.

and the little garden was filled with so much joy, that it thought it would burst.

little garden - world