Song of Songs:
The voice of my beloved!
Behold he comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle, or a young stag.
Behold, there he stands behind our wall,
gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice.
My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away;
for lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff,
let me see your face, let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet, and your face is comely.
Catch us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vineyards,
For our vineyards are in blossom.”
A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a garden locked, a fountain sealed…
A garden fountain, a well of living water, and flowing streams from Lebanon.
My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices,
To pasture his flock in the gardens, and to gather lilies.
I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he pastures his flock among the lilies.
My vineyard, my very own, is for myself…
O you who dwell in the gardens, my companions are listening for your voice;
Let me hear it.
Make haste, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young stag upon the mountains of spices.
In the darkness between the bushes, there was no light. He came and held out his hand to me. “Why are you frightened?” And he brought me out.
But I was still afraid. “Why do you ask me, when you know better than I?”
I turned away, and he was gone.
In the darkness between the bushes, it was cold. He came and held out his hand to me. “Why are you frightened? Come out.” And he brought me out.
But I was still afraid. “I don’t know. You made this world. You know its evil better than I.”
I turned from him, and he was gone.
In the darkness between the bushes, a great light came and warmed me.
“Fear nothing,” it said. “I am with you always. Fear no harm, for I shall do you none.”
And he sat beside me in the Garden and sang the songs of Jerusalem.
My garden is locked
My garden is wild and strange. It is surrounded by tall, ancient walls all around. Entrance to my garden can only be made through an old, wrought iron gate, nearly covered with dark green ivy. Here I spend much of my time alone. Almost no one sees me, but I can see them if I peep through the vines over the gate.
Sometimes I can see into other people’s gardens. Some are so open, anyone can see in. Others are shut tighter than mine; I wonder if they have a gate at all. Some are ordered, almost to the point of blandness. Others are large so that I can’t see the ends.
Every so often, someone comes to my gate. I go happily to greet them. They seem surprised to see me, but few enter my garden. It’s too untamed and deep; you could really get lost in here…
A garden fountain
Once, a man walked by. I judged him interesting to observe, but unlikely to be observant. He was handsome and funny, so I watched him for a time. I thanked God for him, so different from me and yet so good.
I came away and bent down to study a plant that was growing in the path. Should I remove it, or wait to see what it becomes?
I glanced back at the gate and gasped. The man’s face was pressed against the iron. He was looking at me. And he was smiling.
It was a shock. I had thought him someone I could appreciate, but who could never appreciate my garden. Yet there he was, looking around as though… as though he really liked it.
He didn’t stay long, but he left behind a little hope. Hope that I’m not totally invisible in here. Maybe some day, someone else will come. Until then, I’ll practice opening the door.