Don’t you love discovering new authors? ISA RITCHIE lives in the beautiful land of New Zealand. She has studied sociology, herbalism and hypnotherapy and is currently undertaking a PhD in anthropology. She loves tea cups, magnolias, elder flower cordial and living by the sea.
Set against an idyllic New Zealand landscape, The Seekers’ Garden weaves together five stories of self-discovery within a larger tapestry of human experience.
The Seekers’ Garden will touch your soul.
Her father would have said, in a jestful boast, that it took 50 years of careful neglect to get the garden looking this way. Marcia could not compare it to the neatly manicured front sections in the surrounding neighbourhood. People were outside, bright and early on Sunday mornings, pruning the hedges and clipping the garden edging. Perhaps they enjoyed it as a hobby but to her there was an underlying obligation, a detectable should, some kind of guilt motivation.
The garden she stood in festered on guilt and shame, engulfing these emotions, hiding them beneath the dense chaotic foliage, rather than trying to hide from them, which Marcia suspected these elderly neighbours were doing. Perhaps they looked down on this garden, perhaps they liked to. Perhaps this was the wrong that made them right. Perhaps they were the kind of people that kept their issues tucked neatly beneath the rug, who clipped their nasal hair discretely, while her family had a tradition of pretending the lurking mass of problems in the corner was a coat stand and ignored the smell of rotting rats behind the refrigerator.
Neither approach satisfied her. Not in my backyard. It simply wasn’t sustainable. Although after a while a garden develops eco-systems of noxious weeds and stealthy insects all on its own, in the same way that people learn to live with the problems they are too scared to face; the same way that addictions reinforce themselves; vicious cycles. If this is the result of so many years of neglect, she wondered how many years of loving nurture will it take to heal?
She picked up a shovel, ready to unearth the past.
The ground was soft, easily giving way to the spade and to Marcia’s delight she was making progress, absorbed in something bigger than herself. This garden was a metaphor for her family’s unresolved history, and as she dug she came across reminders of the past; old glass bottles, rusted metal wheels, rubber balls that her siblings most likely played with before losing in the weeds. She noticed too that the different types of weeds all had a variety of strengths and weaknesses: Wandering Jew, the anti-Semitic pest was quick to grow and easy to rake away; the personal issues that keep coming back, needing to be cleared, like a cluttered mind. Ivy was tough but one strand easily dragged others with it, like chains of bad memories. Jasmine, whose flowers were so sweet, and would bring death over her surroundings, could be cut at her strong, woody roots like energy leaks deadened at the source. Every problem could be solved.
Leaving behind the fragments of her once perfect life, Marcia Reed-Wilton crosses the world to return to her dilapidated childhood home and dig up the weeds of the past. Next door, elderly Mrs. Everglade struggles to maintain her independence in spite of her increasing frailty. Near by, sixteen year old Lea escapes into her poetry in order to cope with depression. Meanwhile, Iris leaves her career on a whim to embark on an adventure of an entirely different kind; moving to a sleepy seaside town to write a book. On the other side of the world in opposite seasons, Zane, vocalist for a popular progressive band is haunted by cryptic dreams that lead him home.
A few twists of fate and a buried secret leave these individuals deeply and unexpectedly connected. The Seekers’ Garden gives voice to various experiences that challenge many of us, exploring our pre-conceptions on life and the decisions we make. This novel quietly invites readers on a journey into our own spiritual outlook.
New Zealand author, Isa Ritchie
Buy on Amazon: The Seekers’ Garden
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