spring renewal – a short story

by Sharon Santoni

The following short story – 100% fiction – is my contribution to this months party at Splenderosa.  Marsha’s  theme this month is spring in the garden, I have attempted to weave a tale around the theme.  I beg your indulgence.


Louise poured some more coffee into her favourite mug, slipped on a pair of old shoes, walked out the kitchen door and onto the lawn.  It was  still wet with the morning dew.



She had spent the week in the garden. Taking stock to begin with:  remembering what used to be, dreaming of what could be again, and making resolutions.  Then she had picked up garden tools and started work.
Tom was away for several weeks.  He didn’t often travel that long and she didn’t know why this trip required so much time.  She had meant to ask, but somehow the question was never posed.
The children telephoned now and again: “Hi Mum, what are you up to today?”.  They never left her time to  answer, content to babble on about their busy lives, and she content to listen, and painfully aware that in any case she’d have nothing much to say in answer to their question.
She was long past that extremely-busy stage in her life.  There were no longer hungry mouths to feed at home, no homework to oversee, no school activities to run (thank goodness),  less entertaining of friends.  She had to admit that the less she had to do, the less she did.  Instead of making full use of this new found freedom, she had let herself slip into a rut, maybe even a deep trough.
So this morning, over breakfast she had moved from taking stock of her garden to taking stock of her life and, most importantly, her marriage. In fact it seemed that her garden and her marriage were similar in far too many ways.
As a bright young couple she and Tom were unstoppable.  Endlessly busy, and productive and floating high on a cloud of achievement.  They had known an exciting planting season when seeds of hope had been liberally strewn and  tender shoots admired.   Their garden was cherished and grew well to form a strong and admirable surround to their beautiful home; interesting jobs; lively circle of friends and inevitably glittering social life.
With the groundwork well established they  became more ambitious,  more confident and two young trees entered the garden.  As the years passed the young trees grew strong, did well  and gave Louise and Tom much joy and satisfaction.
Then had come the drought years.  They seemed endless.  The former excitement and innovation gave way to an exhausting routine.  There was never enough water, the garden was untidy and even the young trees showed signs of strain.
The grass faded from lush green to beige.  The garden became dull, their busy lives carefully moving around the edges without ever taking the time to stop and take a good look at what was happening.
Tom started travelling more frequently, the children flew the nest to start their studies and then to commence their own lives, and quite suddenly, in what seemed like a blink of the eye, Louise found herself very often alone.
How had this happened, why hadn’t she seen it coming?  She toyed with the idea of talking about it to Tom, but although they got on well enough together,  they communicated only superficially about practical details of everyday life, never in depth ……. She knew that the garden needed attention, she knew exactly what had to be done, it was simply a question of deciding if she had the will to take on the task.
At the start of the week she had toyed with the idea of calling in a landscape gardener: hoping for a magic wand that could bring the garden back to life.   She saw a small ad and dialled the number … trying to sound bright and nonchalant on the phone:
“Oh you know, it’s a mature garden now…runs itself really.. I’m not even sure you’d find that much to do…”
There was a pause, the gardener’s question came, as incisive as a scalpel… “Are you happy with the way it is now?”
She was taken aback  “Oh well, it’s OK I suppose … a bit boring .. but nobody seems very interested these days, not like when we were younger.  It was gorgeous then you know, wonderful, all our friends loved being here…”
“Well if it used to be that good then you must have given it a lot of love and attention”
She said nothing so  he continued  “If you want your garden to be interesting again, I can give you some ideas, but it’ll be all the stuff you know already.  My ideas won’t have any effect unless you’re prepared to put in the hard work…do you think you’re ready to dig and prune and weed and feed again?”

They talked a little longer and before Louise put the phone down she muttered “Thank you, I’ll think about it” .. and so she had. Non-stop ever since.

She took paper and pen and wrote down what she wanted: – surprisingly difficult to define.   And even more difficult to contain to just the garden.  Her wish list for the green areas began to grow and spread to other parts of her life.  A wish list for herself, her family and then her marriage.
She longed for shoots of hope; for signs of new life.  And curiously the more she thought about all she longed for,  the more she realised how much she already had.  The structure of that beautiful garden was still there, nothing major had changed, with the right attention she could revive it.
By midweek her back ached, she had blisters on her hands and her shoulders had turned pink in the bright spring sunshine,  but the garden was already looking better.

By the end of the week she found the telephone number for Tom’s hotel.  “Everything all right ?”, his voice was surprised and concerned “you don’t normally call me like this”

“Oh yes Tom, everything’s fine, I was just thinking about you, wondered how you were and when… when are you coming home”

“I’ll be back next week, but you know that … are you sure there’s nothing wrong?”

“Tom, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this week, and working in the garden too.  You’ll see a big difference.  It’s lovely to feel that spring is on its way.  I have great plans for the garden, I was hoping you’d be pleased, that … that we could maybe work on it together.  Remember?  Like we used to”

Tom said nothing for a while, then  in a quieter voice simply said “I’d like that, I’d like it a great deal”
“Thank you Tom darling”, she replied ” I was so hoping you’d say that….  Hurry home, there is so much to do.  You’ll see, this spring,  it will be good again”

[blank]Thank you to Marsha for organising her By Invitation Only party each month.  If you would like to see what other bloggers have written on the theme of spring in the garden then pop on over and check the list.


Splenderosa April 3, 2012 - 7:03 am

Sharon, this is beautiful ! I wish I had written it. Thank you for always providing us with such insightful & thought-provoking posts. Much love…

Shelagh April 3, 2012 - 7:53 am

You have such a wonderful talent in so many areas.

Chris April 3, 2012 - 7:56 am

So beautifully written…and remarkably, easy to relate to your story…tending the garden of many kinds.
xoxo, Chris

Today's Treasure by Jen April 3, 2012 - 7:57 am

Sharon, sweet and thought provoking. I really enjoyed it. There is a little bit of all of us in that story. Well done!!!

Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest April 3, 2012 - 8:09 am


What a wonderful story – so deep and meaningful.

I absolutely loved it, well done, ma'am!


vicki archer April 3, 2012 - 9:02 am

I loved this Sharon… fantastic… xv

Lost in Provence April 3, 2012 - 10:12 am

Sharon, you know how much I love your short stories. This is so lovely and touching–appropriate for all of us no matter our ages and situation. We all need such courage to live our lives well. Beautifully done, merci.

Jennifer April 3, 2012 - 10:48 am

Great story – I wanted it to go on and on – will you write more or is that it?

Veronica April 3, 2012 - 11:12 am

Oh wow Sharon, were you writing my story??? it feels like it! It is beautifully written and if you read my scribblings in my post today you will see your storey line. Loved it!


Raewyn April 3, 2012 - 12:01 pm

Oh My Oh My!!I had a tear in my eye reading this – have forwarded your site to several friends. This is so poignant I only wish my husband had read it before he disappeared into a neighbours 'garden'! So by the time he realised the ground wasn't sas good it was too late. You never fail to surprise and entertain Thank you once again from across the miles.

The enchanted home April 3, 2012 - 12:09 pm

This gave me chills, good chills. LOVE IT! What a beautiful story..think it hit home on a few levels, the being alone, because my kids are all grown up (well I have a 16 year old but hes defintely not my baby anymore though to me he will always be 🙂 and I do feel some of that, I love this and hope there is a part II coming……..

sheepyhollow April 3, 2012 - 12:29 pm

Well done! Our 'gardens' could all use a little tending to…?

Delaine April 3, 2012 - 1:12 pm

Sharon, this was so beautifully written…I loved it!

Anonymous April 3, 2012 - 1:30 pm

We always count on Spring to bring us all the flowers and budding trees, but sometimes we have to reinvent ourselves in order to bloom again…loved your story !

Laura @ 52 FLEA April 3, 2012 - 1:43 pm

Hi Sharon,
You surely have a way with words! Can't wait for Tom to come home…

Anonymous April 3, 2012 - 2:10 pm

Hi Sharon,
I enjoyed your story. It applies to so many of us. We can all take away from it what we want, but I see it as a time to realize that it is up to me to decide how lonely I allow the garden to get. It is time to share sunny days in a garden that wants to share the sunhine, and finally feel free to do so. Thank you.

Coty Farquhar April 3, 2012 - 2:29 pm

Wow…. wowie.. wow! Sharon…such a great short story.
You should write more… part 2 must come out soon… I want to see what happens when
the garden comes back to life. It's so true…. I love it when our garden is beautifully cared for,
but I must admit, in the last year we have both been so busy we just let it do it's own thing. Mowed when necessary, prune a bit here and there…..I don't think I have planted anything for a while.
Thank you for sharing this great story.
Seninding hugs, happy Easter to you and your family, xxxx Coty

Coty Farquhar April 3, 2012 - 2:31 pm

Seninding (too many wines)…such a interesting looking word.. I meant sending!

LPC April 3, 2012 - 3:18 pm

Thank you. It's the kind of story that gives me goosebumps.

Regina April 3, 2012 - 3:34 pm

I loved you story. You got my attention and it never left. Would love to see what happens when Tom gets home 🙂

PURA VIDA April 3, 2012 - 3:47 pm

Whimsy and pure fun!

Gracie April 3, 2012 - 3:54 pm

I discovered your blog recently and I found myself reading through it all holding my breath… you come from a very beloved country – England – and you live in another one truly dear to my heart! I enjoyed my time spent on vacation in many different part of France, and Normandy is one of the most appreciated. I added you on my blogroll and be sure I will visit often. Feel free to do the same.
P.S. it's not so unlikely you could have me and hubby as your guests one day or another (and I saved also all the other address you gave….)

Diane James Home April 3, 2012 - 4:11 pm

What a wonderful story, Sharon, so full of insight and bits of wisdom for all of us to take into our own lives. Thank you for your beautiful words, Cynthia

hostess of the humble bungalow April 3, 2012 - 4:44 pm

Oh this is a wonderful story…
I'd like to know what happens when Tom gets home.

kathy peck April 3, 2012 - 4:50 pm

Very charming, and gardens are such rich metaphors. You used it beautifully.

Debra April 3, 2012 - 5:18 pm

Sharon . . .are you my neighbor, my best friend, or my guardian angel? How do you know my life so well? You are such a talented writer, and I love your blog!!
My garden had me locked inside until sunset yesterday . . .thanks for the daily motivation and incredibly sincere insight into all our lives.

bv April 3, 2012 - 5:20 pm

oh my…this went right to my heart. so rich. so much thoughtfulness. so helpful, you will never know. thank you.

Joasia April 3, 2012 - 5:26 pm

A story many of us can identify with…
I'm on my way to seek out my secateurs.
Thanks for that nice analogy of 'the garden'. At the end of the day its up to us to shape our world.
Happy Easter
Joasia x

LaPouyette April 3, 2012 - 5:56 pm

A lovely story!!! Yes, spring can give a lot to all of us!
Well said, Sharon.


Lorrie April 3, 2012 - 6:09 pm

Thinking about and adjusting to the empty nest is a hard go. But as your story so beautifully illustrates – it's a time for dreaming new dreams, for adding to the structure that's been there for years, for creating new beauty. I LOVED this, Sharon.

Mrs. Sutton April 3, 2012 - 6:45 pm

Wonderful story Sharon. Amazingly touching and so relevant. You are incredibly talented on so many levels, it's quite awe inspiring. x

Marla in Columbus April 3, 2012 - 6:53 pm


What a lovely story. No time better like spring to renew all sorts of things. Simply lovely.

Janet April 3, 2012 - 9:25 pm

I really enjoyed reading your short story. You blended the themes of spring, renewal, reawakening, and taking stock of your garden (life) beautifully. Thank you.

L April 3, 2012 - 11:17 pm

Your story moved me to tears. It was beautiful. Thank you, Lise-Lotte

Bonnie April 3, 2012 - 11:35 pm

Very inspirational. You kept my attention and I liked the ending.

Yvonne @ StoneGable April 4, 2012 - 2:41 am

Sharon, What a beautiful short story about rebirth a a garden… and a relationship! Just a little nurturing bring almost anything back to life!
Thank you for the reminder!

Corrine April 4, 2012 - 3:46 am

wow, that was touching and timely. thank you.

Mary Anne April 4, 2012 - 4:42 pm

What a beautiful and heartfelt post Sharon. As our lives change, along with our family responsibilities, the nest can feel empty. . .I don't think there is a wife, mom and especially a nana (G'ma) that hasn't experienced some of these feelings. Being blessed with a good marriage is something that also takes work with always an element of surprise is daily living. OMG, even this can be daunting! Thanks once again for being SO SPECIAL Sharon. You are the best!
Mary Anne ox

Mona Thompson Providence Ltd. April 5, 2012 - 4:58 am

What a beautiful story…from obviously a beautiful person. Thanks so much, Sharon. Mona

Francine Gardner April 5, 2012 - 1:26 pm

Dear Sharon, your story is so poignant and anyone who has a full life behind them can relate to it. i have continuously tended my garden, nurturing it in the summer, and enjoying the winter rest. i guess it has been the secret behind my long marriage with its ups and down but still filled with love, adventures and excitement. I am so sorry I did not participate this month as this was probably my favorite theme. Off to france next week to see my parents gardens… and to visit many more in Dordogne

Dana April 12, 2012 - 2:34 am

Your story is so beautiful – So inspiring and heartfelt!

Carol S. January 13, 2013 - 1:57 am

Just stumbled into this from Vignette Design…lovely, thank you.

the spring garden - MY FRENCH COUNTRY HOME March 20, 2019 - 2:03 pm

[…] you have planned for the season to come, do leave a comment and let me know. Or take a look at this story of spring renewal I wrote a couple of years […]


Leave a Comment