The Tardig is our silly, irreverent rendition of Dr. Who's TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) phone booth which is a time machine for travel. When Carl had finished welding the railings together, the similarity to Dr. Who's time machine struck me and off we went for cans of blue paint.
I'm not a Dr. Who fan, but the idea of a structure which could transport me to another place captivated me. The Tardig is our 'Time and Relative Dimension in Gardening' space. I often find myself lingering inside the filigreed oak leaf structure, sometimes in tears, sometimes in anger, always in prayer and eventually in peace. With all the worry swirling around me this season, I spent some time there today.
I did not know there was a similar place in another garden far away until this past September when I heard about The Phone of the Wind. I was washing clothes with my Maytag wringer washer and happened to have tuned into 'This American Life' on my cellphone, old technology merged with the new. The podcast was entitled 'One Last Thing Before I Go' .
This is an incredibly touching story about a gardener in Japan who has an abandoned phone booth in his garden complete with a telephone which is not connected to anything. He refers to the structure in Japanese by a lovely name which translates as the 'Phone of the Wind'.
People come from all over the country to use the Telephone of the Wind. The audio is heart-breaking. Even though I do not speak Japanese, the sound of grief, longing and anguish is universal and needs no translation.
"Hello? Mom? Where are you? It's so cold, but you're not getting cold, are you? Come back soon, everyone is waiting for you, OK? Eat something, anything, just be alive, somewhere, anywhere. I'll build a house for us. I'm so lonely."
As I hauled my laundry out of the basement and hung it on the line to dry in the sun, I was wiping away my tears with the back of my hand. Eventually I had to sit down and sob. I could picture each and every one of the mourners reaching out for one last word with those they loved and tragically lost in the tsunami over five years ago.
"Sometimes I don't know what I'm living for.....without all of you, it is meaningless. I want to hear your reply, but I can't hear anything. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry I couldn't save you."
The holidays come and go and the group gathered around the table ebbs and flows as our loved ones leave us and new ones join the family.
How often I take for granted the time I have left with loved ones. Carl has a voicemail on his phone from his late brother, Larry. He cannot bring himself to erase it. My mother is a little more confused as each day dawns, but I can still reach her, touch her, kiss her, embrace her. Someday soon we will part.
May I cherish each day.