Today is Armistice Day and with the weather here in York somber and dark, the ambiance feels somehow appropriate as I wind my way through my garden and to the old corbel stone that is nestled among the shrubs and ferns and where my ‘Poppy Garden’ now waits.
I would be alone if it were not for our three resident chickens, affectionately known as the ‘Girls’ who are keeping a respectful distance and as I pause while holding a silver cross decorated with a Flanders Poppy and with the eleventh hour approaching, I think of the poem written by John McCrae:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
It is then that I hear the familiar rustle of leaves and before I can add my tribute to the others in the garden…
I can see that Murphy has slipped quietly into view with his own poppy tribute cradled between his paws.
As I watch him carefully place his poppy in the garden – I wonder who is occupying his thoughts today for having recently discovered the identity of an another ancestor who perished in WWI – I’m thinking about a Private William Lamb who never lived to see his 21st birthday.
Although my research about William still continues and with the promise of exciting tales as yet undiscovered, I have been sharing the ‘fruits’ of my sleuthing on the family history blog and a newly commissioned ‘Roll of Honour’ will soon have pride of place within the cosy interior of St M’s Parish Church in the Mouse Town.
However, much to my surprise, I hear yet another rustle of the leaves and there before us is Minnie B!
For on this most solemn day of remembrance, she too had made her way through the garden all on her own with a carefully nestled Poppy between her paws.
However, it is Murphy who senses her uncertainty about what to do next and he quickly makes his way to her and gently shows her what to do…
With Minnie B’s tribute now sitting proudly along with the others in the Poppy Garden, I watch them as they pause before the rows of silver crosses.
But with the now sky growing darker and with the promise of a heavy rain – it’s soon time for us to leave.
And as the felines set off for home in search of a warm fire, I take a moment to enjoy a last look at our Poppy Garden.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.