By - Allan Ishac

The Wailing Garden

I have had a fantasy for years of creating a small, outdoor sanctuary—a simple, lovingly tended garden—that would be a place to break down.

I love the idea of a refuge filled with living, quiet things that won’t judge, won’t interfere, and won’t try to make it better … but will just absorb the melancholy and consume the despondency without changing it. Soil and roots, branches and leaves all scrambled together to form a kind of emotional shock absorber, an honorable place to go and be sad.

This living shelter would have a split rail fence lining its perimeter, covered in crawling vines so lush you could barely see the demarcation. There would be paths thick with wood chips underfoot, and just wide enough for two to walk side-by-side. Weathered teak benches would be tucked inside stands of swaying grasses … or Weeping Cherry trees. Adirondack chairs, placed here and there, would lie low and solo, so sitting in them would put you eye-level with violet snapdragons and calming lavender plants.

I would call this place The Wailing Garden.

And as you entered it, there would be a neat, hand-painted sign hanging at its entrance. It would read:

The Wailing Garden is a place to drop to your knees. You can shed tears here and grieve your losses. No one will ask questions. No one will interrupt. Stay as long as you like, leave when it feels right. Return again. The garden will pass through its seasons, as you will pass through this.