A Chinese Dragon in an English Garden
When I moved into the place where I now live the garden was a bit wild. It is still wild as that is the way it likes to be. I tidied it up a bit and then left it to do its thing, mainly because I gave up trying to tame the wild. I’m not a gardener and the garden does not want to be tamed. It was here first, it sets the rules.
My main reason for tidying it was curiosity, I wanted to know what hid beneath the overgrown plants, as this is an old house and the garden had once been laid out in a very planned way. It had clues to its origins, to what the original inhabitants had wanted to do, which peeked out between lots of greenery.
There was a stone path to what I think may have been an outhouse. I’m not excavating that! The bathroom here is definitely an add-on, done in a hurry, and sometimes feels like an outhouse as it is always cold and would work well as an eco-friendly refrigerator. It’s part of the… um… charm of the place.
The garden was also littered with beer bottles as the previous tenant liked to have parties with his mates around a bonfire. Sounds like fun. Sure I could tut tut about the littering, but when he lived here this was his garden and he was free to do as he pleased and decorate it with empty beer bottles. Once I moved in it became my garden and so I chose to change the decor. Someone else would probably tut tut my way of decorating it. They can change it when it’s their turn to live here.
While tidying the garden I found many intriguing bits and pieces which could be considered relics of the history of those who have played a part in the life of this property.
It was once abandoned and derelict… sort of. There are many local tales about the previous inhabitants. Nothing eerie or supernatural, although I did once see a little girl in a white dress with red flowers on it playing in the garden, but that was a dream. She appeared several times. Still in dreams. I think it was my subconscious urging me to enjoy the garden during a time when… I was a bit grim about living here. I took the hint and decided to change my approach.
And that’s when I found the relic in the photo.
I was clearing a giant nettle patch. As in the nettles were giants, twice as tall as me and I’m of average height, with stingers the size of hypodermic needles, the area was quite small. That was scary fun, because stinging nettles bend easily and always find exposed skin even if your cover every inch and tape your clothes down.
Once I’d cleared the nettles I found a very soft patch of earth, which is rare because the ground here is very hard. It had shards of coloured glass in it. The house had been emptied and stuff had been burned, including glass which was now bubbled and warped. Amongst other debris I found this relic.
What was it? A chess piece? A decorative flourish of some piece of furniture? A thingy to place on a shelf?
I tried searches on the internet to figure it out, but the words which I used to describe it failed me and I gave up. I left it as a mystery, which one day might reveal itself. It was placed on a mantlepiece, a part of the house, belonging to it and staying with it once I’d moved on… if I ever do. Left in place to gather dust. That’s what things on mantlepieces do.
Then the other day someone gave me a token for luck. It was a little Chinese dragon-lion hybrid thingy – Pixiu. I’m not particularly superstitious, so I don’t believe in lucky objects, but the gesture was deeply touching. It’s been an interesting year, and there are days when… such gestures really help. I looked up the symbology of the token, and suddenly my brain set off alarm bells of recognition. The little dragon-lion thing was almost exactly like the figure on the garden relic, except the garden relic had its head missing… and looked more like a frog. But… there is a similarity, or not.
It’s all very exciting (as in I need a distraction from serious stuff thus anything which provides it is exciting, and I’m very knackered, so anything is something) and I have no idea what this means, if it means anything other than the meaning which I give it… and that’s just it, isn’t it. Most things only means something if we imbue them with meaning. Everything has meaning and nothing has meaning. We are creative beings endlessly creating with our minds, hearts and souls… Why? Who knows why… it’s just what we do.
*For the Weekly Writing Challenge: Traces