In the mornings when I am in the city, I have my meditation time in my garden. It is a small space, more of an extended courtyard, but full of beauty — flowers, vines, trees, sculptures, benches and pathways to traverse as I pray.

Now it is summer and the hostas are in full blossom, their tall stems and fragile purple flowers crowning high above explosions of wide green leaves. My zinnias stand tall and proud in their flower pots, rainbows of reds, oranges, hot pinks and yellows. The butterfly bushes have grown to their full immense summer heights, their long purple flower lined stalks sprawling across the garden.

I walk along my flagstone path, barefoot, feeling the damp warm earth on my soles. A simple concrete bench waits for me in the back corner at the end of the path. It is surrounded by hostas and clematis. My prayer stones fill the gravel ground with encouraging words — faith, hope, joy, love, balance, peace.

A fat bumblebee buzzes around my head, visiting hosta flowers. He lands on each flower and deftly crawls deep inside until only his shiny black bumblebee butt is visible. I watch as the bright yellow clumps of pollen on his legs grow larger with each flower.

The neighbor’s colossal maple tree spreads out high above me. In the summer it is full of life. Hummingbirds nest in its branches. A starling emerges from her home within a hollow knot. Warblers sing from its heights. The squirrels are active today. I count six of them scrambling around the great limbs, chasing each other, scolding with short sharp barks.

One of them scurries down a low hanging branch and leaps to the top of the wooden privacy fence next to my bench. He stops for a few moments to observe me. I can see his soft grey fur rising and falling with his quick staccato breaths. He has seen enough and hurries on down the fence top, fluffy gray tail twitching for balance.

If I had my druthers, I’d be in the country at our cabin in the woods. But how thankful I am for this magic garden in the city, full of beauty and life. When I am in my garden, the city’s noisy, harried tension fades into the background. Even here within the contained contrived world of concrete and steel, nature emerges. It explodes forth from every sidewalk crack, every open inch boasts life of some sort. We cannot contain God’s marvelous Creation. It always finds a way to break through, and raise its leafy arms upward toward the sun, in defiant praise of its Creator.