Empowerment. Engagement. Authenticity.

Rangers Lodge Saga - Roses and a Memorial

Adam and Kristen strolled outside. “Logan mentioned you were visually-impaired but this is the first time I’ve seen you use a cane,” Adam remarked as they wended their way along a sloping path on the east lawn. “You move around quite confidently. Mind if I ask about your vision?”

Kristen took in the scenery as they walked, her cane clearing the way ahead of her. “Tunnel vision in my right eye. Can see faces, scenery, signs. No peripheral or depth, though.” She laughed. “I tend to get overconfident indoors so I don’t use my cane as much. Have to say, this place is super accessible.”

“A goal of mine,” Adam said with a touch of pride. “I wanted to make sure everyone could enjoy this place as much as I do. We’ve had seniors groups up here and they’ve had a blast.” He gestured widely. All our facilities have ramps and contrasted markings and are clearly lit at night.”

Kristen stopped short, her hands flying to her mouth in almost childish delight. Before her, beds of roses in every shade of the rainbow seemed to tumble to a pebbled shore gently lapped by ocean waves. On closer inspection, she saw that they were arranged by shade along sweeping stone terraces. Stone steps led to each level and benches were tucked amidst the flowers. Floral sweetness mingled with salty sea air.

“Oh, Adam, it’s beautiful,” she breathed, her fingers still on her lips. She looked back at the lodge standing sentry behind them with its gleaming windows and then at the exquisite garden. “Did you design it?”

Her unabashed admiration had his professionalism slipping once again. “Yes, three years ago. A memorial to my mother.” He braced himself for the typical gush of sympathy.

“What a wonderful tribute,” Kristen murmured. “Eternal growth for eternal love.” The sincerity of her words touched Adam in a place he’d thought well tucked away from outsiders. He studied her face, upturned to the sun. When their eyes met, he saw none of the customary pity in them.

“Mom would have wanted it that way.” Bringing himself back into line, Adam tipped his head to the opposite end of the garden. “Would you prefer the ramp?”

“Stairs are fine.”

When Kristen took a camera from her pocket, Adam reached out. “I’ll do that so you can explore.” They descended the first tier of stairs and Kristen wandered among the flowers, entranced by the colours. She heard Adam click off a couple shots and turned to him.

With the rising sun glinting off the water behind her and edging her features with gold, Adam felt himself staring. He raised the camera. “Stay right there,” he told her, framing the shot. When it was done, he asked, “Mind if I use this for the lodge’s Facebook page? It’s incredible.” And not just because of my photo skills, he thought.

Kristen hid her pleasure at the compliment with a joke. “Caption: Crazy guest enjoys garden at dawn.” She strolled down another level and he followed. “If I’m going to be used as a model, at least let me strike a dramatic pose,” she called over her shoulder with a laugh. She draped herself beside a bed of dewy red roses.

“How did you know sunrise would be the best time to come here?” he asked.

“The whole idea of dawn and dew and things just waking up.” She shrugged. “And this just happens to be my favourite time of day. A nice lull before the day gets busy. ”

He contemplated her words. “You teach English,” he guessed.

Kristen laughed. “Sorry, was my answer too poetic?” She dropped to another terrace and strolled the length of crimson and salmon roses. “I split my time between ESL, literacy and life skills for the visually-impaired.”

“Quite the portfolio.”

Kristen smiled. “I’ll teach any chance I get.” She gestured widely to their surroundings. “Just as I’ll wager hospitality and landscaping are your passions.”

Adam fell into step with her as she explored each terrace with avid admiration, “when you love something, you don’t mind doing it.”

“Hey, haven’t seen this colour anywhere yet,” she called out from the second to last terrace. Adam stilled when she knelt to examine an engraved stone plaque set amidst a cluster of lemon yellow roses. She looked over the roses rising above them. “Reds and pinks and even oranges but this is the only spot with yellow.” Adam’s chest tightened as her fingers ran gently over the plaque. To Kathleen Laura Ranger, blooming in our hearts forever. “Was this your mom’s favourite colour?” He didn’t hide his emotion fast enough. “I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to pry,” she murmured.

“No, no,” Adam assured her hastily, extending a hand to her. “It’s just that…” He could count the number of times in the past three years guests had noticed the plaque much less the fact that the roses were a different colour than the rest.

“You don’t have to tell me.”

“I don’t mind, really.” Adam looked down at the plaque and the flowers. “When I was little, yellow was my favourite colour. I brought home any yellow flower I could find for my mother.” Adam’s smiled at the memory. “It was only when I got older that I figured out she hated yellow but she always made a big deal of putting the flowers on display. She loved roses, though.”

“Nice compromise, then.” Kristen wanted to touch his arm but sensed that the gesture would make him uncomfortable. She opted for humor. “Have you amended your colour choice to something more acceptable?“

Her dry tone had Adam laughing. “I’m more of a blue guy nowadays. He glanced at his watch and did a double take. “I’m sorry, we’ll have to head in now. Time to start my real work day.” How the hell had three hours slipped away without him noticing? He wondered with more bafflement than annoyance.


 (c) Kristy Kassie, 2016

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