The angel room in Merlin’s Garden was never planned. I just stood on the soil and looked around me and thought why not start here. I drew an imaginary line to create an entrance. I pulled weeds and hauled soil and compost to nourish the earth. Calling it the angel room came later as the work took shape. It seemed a perfect name for a work that seemed to guide me more than I guided it.
It started with a Silver Sheen Pittosporum shrub. Its leaves are so light and airy that when the sun hits it the shrub glistens like a mass of miniature diamonds. It was only three feet tall when I planted it. It now stands gracefully, well over six feet, at the back of the angel garden like a beacon to guide a visitor’s steps. Nearby iceberg roses, amass in white blooms, are almost like brilliant lights along a path. There is bronze flax, purple cranesbill, orange butterfly weed, pink verbena, as well as licorice, ornamental garlic and rosemary plants that fill the spaces between. The smell is delightful. A white crape myrtle finds a home in the space as does a small beech tree that some day will be much larger. Rudy, who helps me care for the yard, at first expressed concern for the roses when I planted the beech – it will cast shade, he said – but I assured him we will make it work. He was kind enough to allow me my illusion. Angel statues, a table and chairs in one place, a bird bath and a fountain in another, followed in no unique order. Each piece, each plant, found its spot as if this had always been the plan. The butterflies and birds couldn’t have agreed more.
The angel room is but one of the sanctuaries I hope to create in our small haven called Merlin’s Garden nestled against a hill. It is filled with reminders that life never ends really, it just changes form. Nature is very accommodating in this regard. It always seems to make room for the next.
It is in the angel room that I put the ashes of pets lost too soon. I wait for some particular moment to do so. When the moment happens, the call is so strong I must move quickly to action. Please don’t think me crazy. I just know it is time. I don’t always tell Jim when I do this because he has a hard time with death, but I hope he feels the remarkable calm like I do when he goes to this particular corner of our world. For me, it is a haven. Here I find the peace I often crave from the world that surrounds me. Here the angels, including the creatures we have lost, sit a spell and tell me all is well.