Shirlee lived alone on a cul-de-sac in a small town in Wisconsin. She was an avid gardener and in the twelve years she had lived in the cottage, she had transformed her back yard into a Garden of Eden. Foxglove, larkspur, ferns, lilacs and many more plants littered her garden. She even had a little ceramic deer posed in one corner. His name was Nine.
Each year Shirlee would take a section of her yard and work on it to make it into a separate space with a different theme. This year she had decided to create a symphony of music and was placing wind chimes in various locations.
A large copper bass wind chime went furthest away from the cottage. She didn’t want it to overwhelm. A friend had given her a homemade wind chime and she place that outside of her kitchen window so she could see it when she did her dishes.
Shirlee collected wind chimes the entire summer and as August came around the air was filled with the most beautiful chiming concerto.
Sometimes after dinner, Shirlee would sit in the garden by the waterfall koi pond and drink a glass of red wine. She would close her eyes and listen to the symphony of wind chimes and imagine herself in Paris with a lover. She could almost feel him stroke her cheek.
Eyes wide open; Shirlee knew that would never happen in her life time. Her love of life had already occurred and had vanished. He had vanished with the war and was never to be heard from again.
The small town never changed. It was a constant village. Nothing happened out of the ordinary and nothing ever would. However, the town had a school and that school lost its music director of thirty years to cancer. They needed a new music director. Enter into this picture, a mature man of forty years of age. His name was Keith and he was blind. Keith was a marvelous musician and a wonderful teacher.
He applied to the school by mail and the school decided to interview him for the job. Keith was accompanied by his service dog, Maynard. They were taken aback when they discovered Keith to be blind. But Keith surprised them at how independent he actually was with Maynard’s help.
Keith was hired and he was moved into the cottage next door to Shirlee’s and directly behind Shirlee’s Wind Garden.
Shirlee had heard about the music director’s death and had even gone to the wake. She didn’t really know the man, just to wave when they were both outside. She was curious about the man who would take his place.
Keith was actually very shy about meeting new adults. He took to children and his high school young adults but would shy away from the other teachers and administrators. Keith’s students grew to love and respect him.
Keith had planned to write a symphony and enter it into a contest that was being held in the state for music directors. Each evening after dinner Keith would sit at his piano and write and play. One evening there came such a massive thunderstorm. Keith left his window open just a tad to allow for fresh air. The Wind Garden next door erupted into such a cacophony that it inspired Keith’s music that night. After the storm the Wind Garden quieted but continued in its magical givings.
It being a Friday night, Keith found himself to have been awake all night long. He wrote and completed the symphony in that one evening.
Keith won the music competition with his symphony, The Wind Garden Serenade. There was a big write-up in the local newspaper and Shirlee read about the serenade dedicated to her wind garden. She baked blue berry muffins that day and went calling on the cottage behind her house.
Maynard was barking as the door of the cottage opened. Shirlee introduced herself to Keith and they sat down to talk. It seemed as if they have been friends for many years. They were so comfortable with each other. Shirlee was surprised at how easily Keith got around and took care of himself. Maynard was a joy.
Keith took Shirlee’s hands into his and thanked her for the Wind Garden for it had been his inspiration and he had written the winning symphony. He was so grateful.
Years later Keith and Shirlee would reiterate the story of how they met and fell in love to their grandchildren. They were happily married for over fifty years thanks to the Wind Garden.