As a Christmas gift to myself, Mrs. ProfessorRoush had encouraged me to bring back a new garden statue from Indiana while I rented a moving van to retrieve items from the farm. At first appearance, that may seem a long distance to go for a cement statue, but just south of where I grew up is a large statue nursery, with great prices. It is the site of the nude and voluptuous "Eve" that I wrote about in my Garden Musings book, and over the years we had shopped it on occasion, purchasing small items when the mood struck. At Thanksgiving, the missus and I together had noticed this adorable cherub, and we were in agreement that it enhance the theme of my garden and provide a nice focal point. And here it stands now in my garden, 700 miles and six weeks later.
The theme of my garden? I like to think of it as a reading garden, a quiet garden for contemplation and knowledge acquisition, combining my dual loves of the garden and the written word. My ideal garden structure is not the construction of a simple greenhouse or potting shed, it is of a comfortable, cool, and well-lighted structure in which to read and write amidst of my garden. Somewhere there, in that vision of personal paradise, I hope to spend my golden days, engaged in the quiet study and worship of life on this prairie.
I knew enough to call my new statue a "cherub," and I thought the "shushing" gesture was cute, but I was really unaware just how well this particular little cherub would fit my garden. I had little previous knowledge of cherubs except that they are depicted as fat little infants with wings. I was woefully ignorant of a vast amount of religious symbolism and myth, for cherubim are not simply angelic infants floating in heaven, they are the second of nine orders of celestial angels in Christian theology, the personal attendants of God who hold in themselves the special gift of wisdom. This little stone angel with a finger to its lips fits my garden far better than I ever dreamed.
I've introduced you before to one of my other "reading garden" statues, my Aga Marsala, holding her book high among the roses. But while writing this blog entry, to my shock, I realized I've never shown you the first of my readers, the angelic reading statue (pictured now at left) that was a birthday gift from Mrs. ProfessorRoush and her diminutive clone many years back. Little they knew at the time that they were gifting me a garden theme and a focus for my days to come. It is a little scary for an old man to realize how transparent he is to the females in his life. An open garden book, perhaps?