When I was a little girl, I had the very good fortune of knowing Mrs. H. Our backyard touched borders with hers, and she encouraged me to spend as much time as I liked in her garden. And what a garden it was. Mrs. H and her husband were serious rose people, and the garden had no room for lilacs, peonies or hydrangea. To her mind, the rose was best, in all ways. The garden was laid out in a precise way, with flagstone paths between the rows, a martin house on a tall pole, small benches, and a sundial with raised Roman numerals that I loved to touch on hot days.
My very favorite thing about this Alice in Wonderland sort of place was in the very center. There surrounded by mossy stones, laced with lily pads, was a large koi pond. I would sit entranced for what seemed like whole afternoons, gently touching a reed to the surface so that I might see the beautiful conflagration break the water’s surface with their brilliant mouths. They were so big and friendly, and they greeted me when I approached with bread crumbs from lunch. I imagined that the pond itself was filled Alice’s tears, and expected that if I were very still, I may see a Mock-Turtle.
After a while, Mrs. H would notice me there, and invite me in for tea. She had bought me my very own cup and saucer (with roses, naturally) and she seemed to take great amusement in watching me use sugar tongs. I was literally so small that my feet stuck out straight from the edge of the red camelback sofa. My legs weren’t long enough to bend, so I’d sit there sipping my tea and tapping my toes together in front of the fireplace. It was hard to ignore the gigantic moose head that looked down on me from above the mantle. That was the only thing in Mrs. H’s house that frightened me. Everything else was welcoming and sun-dappled.
These memories I’ve shared with you are what inspired me to create this koi. To me, it represents the importance of being kind to children, taking them seriously and helping them to feel important. In a way, some of the very best fortune a person can have is a good neighbor.
I hope you like this piece as much as I enjoyed creating it. I have prints available in full color on 8.5 x 11″ acid and lignin free paper for $28 with free Priority Mail shipping.
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