A miraculous transformation!
As I sat there hunched on my narrow trestle in the sordid gray gloom, an amazing thing happened. The ever-moving misty ghosts faded out and suffered an amazing transformation. This was no dream. It happened around ten A.M. after breakfast, if you could call it that. But it was like experiencing a vivid dream with eyes wide open. In a few moments my eyes and soul were being enthralled with unspeakable beauty of form and colour. Truly astonishing! It seems impossible to describe what I saw. I can but try.
Before my eyes hung an unlatched, white painted, ornamental gate leading into a flower garden. It was opened slightly so I pushed it and stepped inside. A pathway of red gravel bordered with tiny luminous flowers led under a rose laden trellis arch to a most beautiful country cottage. Instead of knocking on the door, I turned into a side path and stood breathless with amazement at the revelation of beauty that confronted me. It was early morning. The sun had not long risen. Each tender blade of jade green grass held a glittering jewel of dew in suspension. The sun transformed the dew into a carpet of multihued gems. They scintillated in gorgeous, deep, rich Venetian hues or brilliant electric or pastel shades. It was breath taking and looked like a slice of heaven. It gave one the impression that angel fingers had overlaid the jade green grass with a transparent carpet composed of every known heavenly gem. But that was just the mere beginning. Everywhere one’s eyes turned was beauty on the same lavish scale. Roses, roses everywhere and their fragrance was intoxicating. Flowerbeds bordered with white pieces of rough alabaster enframed lovely flowers of many shapes, scents and colours. It was a haven for bees that buzzed joyfully in the sun filtered liquid air, as they gathered sweet nectar. Butterflies flopped from flower to flower or flirted in twos. Gorgeous red dragonflies hovered in shimmering, transparent beauty over the fresh and beautiful faces of the lilies in the lily pond, also bordered with white alabaster. Could this be one of the many mansions of which Jesus spoke? Was this indeed a corner of heaven? It certainly seemed so.
The garden was small yet seemed to contain everything that a lovely garden should. To my left in the far corner were a few peach trees in full bloom. That indicated springtime, or could it be that things here never died? However, peach blossom petals lay on the grass beneath the trees enhancing the bright jade of their resting-place. It seemed far too beautiful to describe with the human tongue and language. A few tiny, bright robins had built nests in the trees. Their crimson breasts flashed to and fro while their tiny throats seemed likely to burst with ecstatic melody. One wee nest contained three tiny blue eggs. Their sheer joy was truly infectious! A beautiful, white painted dovecote sheltered a few peacefully cooing doves. What a haven of beauty, peace and joy, truly out of this world!
The house itself was a bungalow with a red tiled roof that swept high and low. Its walls were covered with a rich profusion of red rambler roses. In carefully cultivated disorder they encircled the lattice windows and even assayed to ascend onto the roof. Other small flowering plants of various colours and kinds nestled at their feet. Everything glistened and glittered with multihued dewdrops working in harmony with the sun.
A green and butter coloured hedge defined the limits of this slice of heaven on earth. On one side was an ivy covered low wall. Near the wall was the small lily pond, bordered with alabaster. Tiny ferns and flowers grew out of the holes and cracks between the rocks. Streaks of silver, black, red and gold flashed to and fro in the sun filtered water. Lovely water lilies, pink, yellow and white, spray sprinkled and radiant, lifted their fresh and glowing faces from the water, into the sun filled air. To crown the whole scene with a seal of beauty, a chubby marble angel posed at the heart of the pond, arms stretched out in blessing and her laughing features raised to heaven. From her happy lips she sprayed a gentle shower of liquid diamonds. Many fell back onto her gleaming and beautiful body, keeping her bathed in glory. Others fell onto the open faces of the lovely lilies at her feet, or back into the water with a musical plop, creating a brilliant, miniature waterspout, and a million overlapping ripples that kept the surface of the pond shimmering in the sunshine. I stood speechless, gazing in awed amazement, spell bound with such beauty! It seemed wrong to mar the heavenly carpet with footsteps, but I felt impelled to do so, to see what was on the other side of the wall. What I saw was a rude shock! The sheer contrast was horrible! It felt like being suddenly shaken out of a lovely dream into rude reality. Over there, almost as high as the wall itself was a wilderness of unkempt and ugly thistles and weeds. Also a mound of burned and half burned stalks, no doubt plucked out of this lovely garden in previous days and thrown over the wall to be burned. Such crude, uncultured ugliness impressed one with the value of refinement. Unconsciously shrinking from the most displeasing, sordid contrast, I turned again to feast my eyes on the fair beauty of this morsel of heaven lying at my feet, wrapped in glistening dew drops. Oh! What out of this world beauty it truly was, beauty of scent, colour and form indescribable, this beautiful, so beautiful rose cottage!
Walking back to my original place I stood entranced, feasting my eyes to the full with this heavenly vision, for that most assuredly was what it was. A revelation in the spirit. If I were ever fortunate enough to be able to have a country rose cottage, the design and arrangement of the garden would not be a problem. It is engraved on my heart forever.
But we have a tale to tell
Suddenly, and without any warning, something truly startling occurred. The whole scene became animated and vocal. Every flower and every blade of grass began to move its head and talk. Talking one to the other in suppressed excitement. Every leaf on the trees too, was agitated as if by some whispering zephyrs. In startled amazement I hastily glanced from one to another, wondering what was happening. Even the dew drops seemed articulate and to say the least it was astonishing! Finally, the pretty robin in the peach tree piped out in a pretty singing tone, most earnest and persuasive, "LISTEN WELL, LISTEN WELL, MIND YOU LISTEN WELL!" So I listened almost breathlessly and afraid to move, wondering what was coming next. Suddenly, a dead silence swept over the garden! I wasn’t sure who gave the sign, but I think it was the marble angel at the heart of the lily pond. Then again suddenly, I thrilled to the roots of my hair as a host of lovely voices began to sing a rapid song in perfect harmony. It was electrifying and astonishing! And I knew they were singing it for me.
We have a tale to tell
Feast on our beauty with gladsome delight
Rest in our sweet scented shade
We love to see mortals enthralled by the sight
of our God given beauty displayed
‘Tis for you we’re created for you we exist
To please you by sight and by smell
Happy and smiling, by sun and dew kissed
Yet we have a tale- to tell.
We have a tale to tell, yes
We have a tale-to tell
Under our laughter and hid in each heart
There is a record of suffering and smart
Beauty like this is not given
Nay, must be bought at a price
But, ‘twas worth while, so we sing and we smile
This is the tale that we tell.
Nodding our heads in the sweet morning breeze
Bathed in the sun’s warming light
Happy and smiling as mortals we please
Gaily dorned with fresh dew of the night
Simply perfect in beauty, no tongue could describe
And ravishing hearts at our will
Yet not to us must the glory ascribe
‘Tis thanks to the gardener’s skill.
Thanks to the gardener’s skill, yes
Thanks to the gardener’s skill
He with this picture engraved on His heart
Wielded the knife and the spade for His part
Ours was to yield and to suffer
Torments of fear and of pain
Yet ‘twas worth while, so we sing and we smile
Thanks to the gardener’s skill.
Much toil and effort the gardener put forth
Digging and turning the soil
Pruning and pulling and cutting away
Ever earnest indeed at His toil
Seeing the wonderful end from the start
And knowing His labour not vain
Beauty translated from out of His heart
Beauty through labour and pain
Yield to the all-wise hands then
Yield to the all-wise hands
Though He may seem to be cruel with his knife
He is increasing your beauty and life
Ever so willing to labour
We must be willing for pain
Spring with its smile proves it more than worth while
Yield to the all-wise hands
The singing ceased as suddenly as it started. In the ensuing dead silence I realised that my whole being was vibrating through the excess of intensely pleasurable emotion. After a few moments the hushed murmur of many voices was resumed, interspersed by several spontaneous trills of suppressed but happily excited laughter. The intense blessing had been mutual. The very atmosphere had become impregnated with intoxicating, infectious joy as they sang a testimony of how they received such peerless beauty through pain. It was most blessed, beyond words to express. But there was very little intermission for contemplation. The sweet little Red Breast in the peach tree trilled a command. "V-E-R-Y Well, T-E-L-L your tale, O-N-E B-Y O-N-E, PLEEEEESE!"