Personal Stories

The Lemon Tree at the Bottom of the Garden.

Today I woke up and my mind was racing……what was I doing with my life? How was I going to be of service to this world? What use am I to people around me? Why can’t I figure out what the next step in my life will be? 


Not long into this draining monologue my daughter of two years charges into the bedroom. The fact that it’s still dark outside and it’s 5:30am has no relevance to Sophia’s energy levels. I try to tell her to go back to sleep until ‘morning’ (6am). No chance. Sophia has what I call ‘happy feet’. With her little feet hopping and banging about the bed I pull myself up and try to forget my concerns about where my life was headed.


Despite the sun only just popping up over the frosted garden Sophia yells ‘Let’s go down to the studio’ (The art studio at the bottom of the garden). I truly couldn’t be bothered. It was cold and I was tired. Those niggling questions started seeping into my mind again and I felt as though I needed to find the answers to them NOW. So I grabbed my phone and started scrolling through Instagram desperately as if all the answers would reveal themselves. I scrolled past perfect lives of happy Mothers, I scrolled through business women successfully closing a deal, past friends on family holidays, musicians, models. I felt the answers would pop up any time now and even if they didn’t I’d gained 60 likes for my last post so things were looking up. 


A cool breeze woke me out of my binge as Soph banged the door open and pulled me out. 


We walked through the garden, the stones were still cold under my feet and the dew was still nicely settled and sleepy on top of the plants - it was a fresh May morning. We got to the bottom of the garden. The morning sun had soaked the studio with light. It gave me goosebumps as I sat down on the front step as the sun hit my face. It was sublime. Soph asked if I’d like a ‘cup of tea’ (pretend tea) so I said yes.


As I waited for my tea the sun worked its magic on me doing a beautiful job of taking me out of my mind and into the present moment. Soph busied herself with pretend tea cups so I sank further into this kind of sun meditation. 


When I opened my eyes I could suddenly see and smell the garden around me. There was a lemon tree glistening in the sun with five lemons hanging magically from the branches. It’s a small lemon tree and it was right in front of me. 


Soph came out with the tea. I pointed to the tree and we decided there was a lemon that was yellow enough to pick. I lifted her up to the branch and she twisted the lemon off the twig. We sat down with our cups of tea and examined the lemon. Soph put it up to her nose and exhaled instead of inhaled (she always mixes those up). It didn’t really matter. As she exhaled she made a sound of complete and delicious satisfaction. The smell was intoxicating. This smell that’s been replicated in perfumes, soaps, lollies, flavours. I realised I’d probably got to know this smell lately through these replicas more than the real deal. I can only describe this lemon as really lemony in its perfect blend of earthiness and sweetness with just a touch of tang.  


It occurred to me that for the first time that day my draining monologue had completely stopped. The thoughts that were diminishing me, that I wasn’t enough disappeared for the day and didn’t come back all week. 

- Written by Penelope Morgan for Along The Way 2018.