Author Name: Augustine Wong

I have many places which I love to go but among all the places, only one means a great deal to me  – the garden next to my house. I called it My Haven Garden.

Whenever I was in the garden, I would inhale deeply, savouring the freshness and perfume of the oxygenated air that gave me both peace and exhilaration. Lying on the lush-green grass which felt so cool and soft to the touch somewhat removed all my fears and worries away. It had that therapeutic effect! A gargantuan rain tree formed a canopy over the garden, providing perfect shades and tranquillity. If you were in luck, you might spot some brightly-coloured kingfishers fluttering among the flowers and their merry chirping added a dash of romance in the air.

In the garden too were hibiscus, daisy, bluebells and countless other species of flowers. Buzzing bees surfed the open spaces from flower to flower, desperately seeking pollen. The pollen looked like floating grains of pixie dust, scattered by the blustery wind. The grass always seemed to whisper in the wind, like a church packed with people all saying ‘ssssh’ together. The stalks swayed with a salsa rhythm, nodding their heads in delight. I oohed and aahed over the spectacular sight before me. Was in paradise? You bet I was! Stepping into the garden always gave me repose – a place for my refuge – a paradise for me to destress and meditate. Still vividly buried in my mind was the time I had done badly in my Secondary 4 Year End Examination. Having collected my horrendous results, I headed to the garden instead of home.

Having found a spot behind a mammoth bush of hibiscus plants, I hid behind it and sat myself on the emerald straw-like lawn. I curled myself up. I felt so cold – it was not the weather – I felt so cold and empty within me.  Involuntarily, my tear glands burst and I poured my sorrow and regrets over my failures. I boohooed my heart out.

In the midst of my anguish, a gentle zephyr blew past me giving me the peace I needed and it was like whispering into my ears that things would turn out fine. The fragrance of the plants calmed my nerves. The soft texture of the lawn massaged my pain. A butterfly flew out from nowhere and somewhat landed on my shoulder, fluttering its wings gracefully, cheering me up. I spotted a spider spinning its web across some branches and each time it failed, it would ceaselessly spin its web again. It reminded me of Charlotte – the heroic spider in the novel ‘Charlotte Web’ and it seemed to be telling me not to lose hope.

Those sights hit me like a sledgehammer. Yes, it was not the end of the world. I still had the time to catch up on my studies and excel. Forcing out a smile amidst my distress, I muttered a ‘Thank you,’ to the surroundings and left the garden a recharged and renewed person.

So, how did I flare in my O level that year? You bet it – I scored results I could not even understand how I managed to achieve that. I got into a reputable college, completed all my studies, attained my Master degree and the rest was history.

The garden had found an irreplaceable place in my heart for it was in that garden that had given me hope and strength to bite the bullet and move on. Without the flowers, zephyr, plants, the spider and butterfly, would I have found the inspiration to move on? No! However, one question remained till today – was the happening at the garden a coincidence or was it a message from God inspiring me to move on. With faith, I bet it must be from Him.