Stone with "me" etched

The Garden Mapper

            At the beginning of his career, he drew elaborate maps of the gardens he proposed to his clients.  Borders, lawn, walls, water features, trees, bushes and flowers–each appeared in miniature, exactly as it appeared in his head, exactly as it would appear in the finished garden.  When the diagram was complete, he dipped a tiny brush into water colors, and plantings came to life in their shades of reds, blues, and yellows.  Often, a client would ask for the water color, saying, “I can have my garden indoors and out.”  And here, the designer thought.  He did not point to his head.  
            The mapper began to draw gardens nobody would ask him to design, great sweeps of color snaking up earthen mounds, mazes of twenty-foot bamboo, hedges cut to outlandish shapes, rocks stacked randomly until they teetered, waterfalls that rose into the air.  He invented colors no flower could bloom.  He kept these imaginary gardens in a drawer. 
            One day he drew a walled garden, completely enclosed, and put nothing inside it but the word peace.  Soon, words became his maps:  borders labeled fear and water longingHarmony was a pyramid, difficult to approach, surrounded as it was with arches made of the words rival, enemy, angelSerenity sat in an impenetrable maze, the hedge consisting of nothing but hope
            When he quit his business, he spent all his time with words, each word growing, each  placed artistically to create harmony with all the others.  Just before his death he created a labyrinth.  He wrote the word me in the center.  Then he took out his eraser.

 "The Garden Mapper" first appeared in Coal City Review








Stone with word "me" carved in it


Errant plant

Clump of grass

Quilt of flowers

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