Carolyn balances many roles with great success – wife, mother, attorney, active volunteer. Her newest roles are that of gardener and Turquoise Table owner. She has found a very meaningful and moving way of combining these two new roles, and I wanted to share her story with you. Carolyn has purposed her Turquoise Table as a healing garden for her neighborhood.
Utilizing the table as a place of healing came from being in a place of healing herself. Carolyn suffered a significant and tragic loss, and has needed time and space to process her grief on her own terms and away from social obligations.
“I love the sense of community that the Turquoise Table represents, but I knew that I couldn’t use mine for block parties or morning coffees,” says Carolyn. “Those are happy events, and I struggle with sadness. Gardens are places of calm, and that is what I need in my life right now. I know there are plenty of others needing the same thing, so my Turquoise Table is a place of quiet retreat rather than social gathering.”
Carolyn began her initiative by taking bundles of garden herbs over to nearby neighbors, as well as leaving small bags of the various offerings out on her Turquoise Table. She added a sign inviting anyone passing by to take some. Unfortunately, too often it was Carolyn’s four-legged neighbors that got to the helpings first (her neighborhood has a vast population of wild deer), so the plan had to be modified. Now all of the herbs and flowers remain in the backyard behind the fence, but neighbors are welcome to walk back any time. She also planted a whole new crop of herbs in order to make them multiply faster, and has plans to expand a side garden that will enable people to come and go even less conspicuously.
“My hope is that those experiencing sadness or difficulties feel welcome to come and just enjoy the garden,” Carolyn says. “Smell the flowers, take herbs to use in a recipe or make an herbal tea. They can sense a true connection without feeling pressured by face-to-face conversations that require smiling through the pain.”
Carolyn’s Turquoise Table is also the central repository of a neighborhood book exchange. Neighbors are welcome to take a book from the collection and/or drop one in the book box for others to enjoy. Additionally she uses the table a peaceful place to connect with her family. Enjoying a snack outside with her children enables them to unwind together and share the day’s events.
The healing garden and book exchange box are a wonderful examples of how the Turquoise Table can meet a variety of needs. Reaching out and caring for those around us can take on many forms, and not every table needs to be designated strictly for neighborhood socials. Quiet community is just as powerful. Carolyn is an inspiration for others to be Front Yard People in the way that is most meaningful for them.