I grew up with warm summers, playing in long grass and climbing trees with my best friend Craig. His mother kept an amazing garden and I recall the deep purple of the foxglove flowers that grew in a certain part of the garden. I can see myself sitting there now in the long green grass. I often wondered what would happen if I stuck my fingers inside those purple foxgloves. Where they really poisonous? Would I die? They were scary and beautiful all at the same time. I loved the lupins, with petals shaped like little pods just asking to be popped, and I adored the beautiful bountiful lilac bushes. The fragrance was intoxicating as was the sight of the fat bumble bees that buzzed lazily around and the floating butterflies that converged on the lilacs. I could sit for what seemed like hours surrounded by the colours, the fragrances and the sound of the buzzy bumbles bees.
Craig perfected his Chinese burn technique on me but also taught me how to tie my shoe laces. I have vivid memories of sitting on his doorstep while he climbed the tree out front watching me try over and over again to get it right, tears falling all the while until at last I did it! We would play hide and seek in his garden and every time it would feel like a new adventure. We loved pretending to be characters from our favourite TV shows. He would be Steve Austin the Six Million Dollar Man and I would be Lindsay Wagner, the Bionic Woman.
I have my happiest childhood memories from my time with Craig and his family and such is my love of the memory of being in his garden that it is one of the places I regularly retreat to in my meditation practice today, some 40 or so years later. It was, and remains a place of peace, calmness, beauty, fun and happiness all at once for me.
Summers were summers and winters were winters in the best sense back then. From burning holes in paper scraps with a magnifying glass in the summer, to rolling snowballs as big as cars in the winter, there was always something to do. But the memories of playing in that garden with the sun turning our skins the colour of warm toffee fill me with incredible glittery gratefulness.
This memory is my gift to Craig this Christmas. You see you don’t have to spend money this year or any other year on shop bought presents because you have access to an instant, touching, beautiful gift called a memory gift. Why not sent a few this year telling of your special recollection of an event or time? Immerse yourself and the reader with your recollection of words, images, scents, descriptions and details. Include a copy of an old photo if you have one. Let love and light shine from your heart as you write because guaranteed as the recipient reads your words, they too will be filled with happiness, gratitude and love. Like a ripple on a pond, you will touch people on a deeper level with your memory gift than you will probably ever comprehend. One thing is for sure, your memory gift will certainly reach far deeper than bath salts ever could.