In the east, traditionally, the garden was on the outskirts of town, fully enclosed and often guarded, having a watchtower for the watchman to keep away beasts and robbers. Here in the west, a garden is an area close to the house, used for growing herbs, flowers, vegetables and other green things. It may or may not be enclosed. Unless, of course, as in the east of the west like here in North Carolina, you need to keep out the beasts both big and small that come out of the forest and nibble on all manner of tasty thing. 'Haven't had issues with robbers yet. (And at the rate of production of my garden, I really don't expect to. ;-))
One reader of this blog has said, "It all started in a garden." And indeed it did. That garden is real as well as metaphorical--the place of our dreams where we are no longer separated from our Source, and are fully realized. The place we long for, whether we recognize it as such or not.
Two men observed the young son of one who was dancing joyously to music only he could hear. The father of the boy turned to the other man and said, shrugging, "He is still in the garden." Though no human truly remains in that Garden, the boy had a piece of it in his heart--enough of a piece, enough of a glimpse, that he touched the joy of true reality and danced with it.
I believe that this is available to us, no matter how long we have dwelt on this earth, nor no matter how many beasts and robbers have ravaged our garden. In relationship with the Creator, the garden is restored, and yet it is up to us to collaborate in that, for we are told to guard, or keep, our hearts. Yet we are not the watchman. The Creator is the Watchman, the Perfect Watchman, if we dedicate the garden to Him.
For a fitting exposition of the call to guard our hearts from Proverbs 4:23, click here.