While sitting with an old friend in her patio garden, I noted a flat rock among Shasta daisies, etched with the words, “Quiet hearts hear the songs of gardens.” Ever alert for possible blog topics to explore, I tucked it away in my word processor. That was two years ago.

At the time, distractions had jammed my heart over her wasting body, pumped with drugs subduing the ravages of multiple myeloma. Yet her heart was quiet. Never was she happier when sunning in her armchair, marveling over the sprouting of her perennials and tracking the return of ruby-throated humming birds flitting around her feeders suspended from her plank fence.

As months passed, her heart became even quieter, tuned to the riches of her inner world fed by decades of prayer and meditation. Visits became repetitive: stories of her birds; gratitude for Marina, her Bosnian helper; occasional falls in her kitchen; some dreams.

On two occasions, her strength played out, she had to enter Sherwood Village for restorative care. Outside her window, pines and maples shaded the feeders that drew cardinals zooming for seeds. Watching them from her wheelchair assuaged her grumpiness. Restored to a modicum of self-care after hours in physical therapy, she returned to her garden patio, where her heart’s song submerged within her depths. How I longed to catch strains of it, but only her God was privy to it. As she was in good hands, I withdrew.

More months passed. In her neighborhood one morning, I stopped by her garden patio. My heart dropped. November’s chill had crisped the perennials. The hummingbird feeder was empty. A blue sheet covered the sliding glass doors leading inside her condo, where I had been her guest. She had finally entered the ever-fresh song in her heart.











Her name was Agnes.