Thoughts for 2016 from my mother’s garden

My mum passed away very suddenly last August. Nobody expected it. I was not there. She lived 300 km from the city I’ve made my home.


A few days ago, I spent some time in my mother’s garden. The Tibetan prayer flags are gone, and the hammock and rainbow umbrella are not out; but the wind chime is still there, still bringing a sense of meditative stillness to the place.

The garden is dominated by this season’s hollyhocks that my mother did not live to see, which have grown and are in full bloom. They stand waving in the wind, rising above a jungle of untamed growth around the fruit trees, a reminder that there is much work to do here.

They are a reminder, too, that often things do not turn out as we expect; that the supposed certainties of the future may not pan out quite as we suppose or imagine.

Apple tree in my mother’s garden.


Hollyhocks again.

But we have to accept the twists and turns of reality – as one of my blogging friends says, we must accept the impermanence of the way life rolls.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2016

21 thoughts on “Thoughts for 2016 from my mother’s garden

  1. Yes, Mathew, unfortunately nothing in this life stays the same. And I find as I grow older that these thoughts of impermanence are sometimes uppermost in one’s mind. I think it is a good thing though to hold on to the past – (many people wouldn’t agree) but I think it is what makes us better writers. I loved your prose – it is what you didn’t say which was so poignant, and that’s what makes great writers.

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    1. Thank you – much appreciated! Yes, the essence of writing is what is left out, and it is a tremendously difficult thing to do. Writing short is a far deeper skill than writing long. I keep working at it.


  2. Lovely, Matthew, just lovely. What you imply is remarkably powerful, a distinctive feature I find quite often in your prose. The older I get, the more I find myself immersed in the permanence of impermanence. There are moments I almost grasp it–well, I think I do–but then, of course, it is gone. I suspect that is its nature. Warmest regards, my friend.


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    1. Thank you! Yes, impermanence is the only certainty; a reminder that we must all live in the moment; to value the now and not covet what we imagine the future might being. It was a lesson my mother kept trying to teach me – along with her yoga, which she taught professionally for over 25 years, though (as sons often do) I always looked on as a ‘Mum thing’. As I grow older I begin to understand the wisdom – itself, of course, a journey. Thank you again, Karen – and I very much appreciate your kind thoughts!

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  3. What a poignant post, Matthew. How wonderful that a small part of your mum’s legacy should be this garden, and these beautiful flowers. My heartfelt condolences on your loss …

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  4. My sympathy to you.
    Strange, I have been thinking about this very subject of late. Recently passed the anniversary of my husband’s death. My next door neighbour, now very frail, is in hospital and likely to go into ‘care’. I was counting how many of we original tenants of these units there are… not many. Then at four-thirty this morning, an ambulance is outside my window, for another of the original tenants.
    Our lives are finite, all we can do, is endeavour to do our best with what we are given and care about those whose paths cross ours… long or briefly.
    Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you – and quite right. None of us knows when ‘the moment’ will come – we must make the best of what we have – and value those around us, for we do not know when they will be gone.


  5. I’m so sorry for your loss, Matthew. This was a beautiful tribute and one to make a mother proud, though I’m certain you already did that one hundred times over. I lost my mother in 2003 and even now it’ll cross my mind from time-to-time to call her. Your mother did as well with her garden as she did with this son. I’m impressed.

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    1. The garden has grown this summer with little attention and is quite wild, but it’s going to have to get some soon, probably with the help of a rotary hoe. The hollyhocks will be gone by then but I was glad to capture the pictures of them.

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