Sometimes little things stop me in my tracks. Such a simple thing can bring back a memory, a moment in time, a feeling or even instigate a longing for something that I never even noticed at the time.

This evening I was engulfed by a longing for my old garden, a garden that I can honestly say that I just lived with, took for granted, even endured at times.

A simple thing,  as I trod the well worn path from the car park to the forest. Just before entering into the darkness of the pine canopy one little swift flitting down and around and soaring back into the sky before banking and zooming back again. How can one little swift stir so many emotions within? How can these longings for a garden be triggered by one little bird?  The sight of the swift brought a rush of memories of sitting in my old garden at dusk and the memory of enjoying that first sight of the returning swifts who visited and nested in my garden every year.

As I continue my walk through the forest I give in to the memories of the garden. The hard work that I had put into my own little oasis. I miss the sound of the water fall running into the koi pond, sitting on the grass next to the pond watching the koi darting in and out, their little mouths popping up from below the surface looking for me to throw a handful of pellets. I miss being mesmerised by the dragonflies skimming the surface, their wings moving so fast that it is impossible to see them and creating the illusion of hanging in the air. I miss the birds sneaking in early in the morning for a little bath amidst the pebbles of the fountain. The frogs scaring the living daylights out of me as they hop out from behind the cala lillies.  I even miss the horror as I drew the curtains on the patio to find myself staring into the eyes of the heron who I am sure was more horrified by the vision of a mad woman shouting and knocking on the window. The mere disgust that he was stopped in his tracks whilst visiting his own little service station only to find a net barring his way to his version of a Big Mac.

My thoughts wander to evenings sitting on the patio, chimnea burning away, the smell of hickory wood mixed with citronella filling the air, the sounds of Bach filtering out of the patio doors, flickering candle light and chinking of ice in the long glass of pimms.

And then I think about how I always felt stressed, never had time to enjoy life, was always rushing from one place to another and always wanting to leave that life behind to find some kind of peace, happiness and a more relaxed lifestyle.

Tonight I realised that no matter how stressed I got I did always find that small amount of time to enjoy that garden but I just never appreciated those moments for what they were.  A haven from the real world, my own little oasis.

And, as I return home, turning into the drive I am greeted by a view of an overgrown garden, my heart sinks and I long once more for my own little oasis. But wait, what is that I see swooping down from the eaves. A swift, joined almost immediately by a second swift and my heart lifts as I notice the wild flowers in the garden and remember the cats playing amongst the long grass and stalking each other, the butterflies that visit and the birds that love the feeders that I have put up around the garden. So I will stop the longing and appreciate the now.

As much as I love the forest and the beach I do so love my own private place. And any private place is its own little oasis.