The signs of spring are beginning to arrive, and although my lawn is still covered in snow, I can´t help but get excited about working in the mini-Versailles I have going on. That´s right I said Versailles. I have visions of grandeur. Something that would have Marie Antoinette do a double take. The problem is, I spook easy, so these visions may never come to fruition. Earthworms in the rich fertile soil of Lillehammer, Norway are the size of small snakes. But that isn´t what really scares me. It is the elephants!

I planted my first plants in our new lawn a few springs ago. A beautiful  rose tree topiary with soft pink blooms, surrounded by sculpted dwarf-yew hedges of winter green in symmetric designs, and the memory still haunts me. I had the perfect spot picked out beside Eliane´s doll house. I spray painted onto the grass the shape and size of my design, and began digging. As mentioned earlier, the earthworms threw me for a loop, and there were a few big rocks I had to muscle up, but suddenly my shovel hit something that made a hollow thump. I removed a little more soil from the body of mass that had my undivided attention, and decided I needed more appropriate excavating tools. I ran to the garage and found a dainty hand rake and spade, then returned to my cavity for a more gentile unearthing.

I had discovered a small yellow lunch box. Then I had a dilemma on my hands. To open or not to open…that was the question. I had decided it was most likely a beloved pet goldfish, hamster, or worse that had been properly buried. But, what if it were treasure!? Old love letters, old silver, or mad money!? Curiosity got the best of me and I simply had to know. I closed my eyes and opened the container. With my eyes still closed, I waited for the smell of decay, but it never came. I slowly opened my eyes and looked. Wrapped in a pretty colorful handkerchief was a toy. A  stuffed elephant with it´s head severed. After several seconds of bewilderment, I walked over to the trash can and disposed of my treasure, then returned to my landscape project.

I was relieved it was not a dead kitten or  puppy, but then I remembered the symbolism associated with elephants. It is a sign! I thought to myself, but what sort of sign?  For years the elephant has been known as the sacred symbol of the East. Some people worship elephants, and Thailand has made it their national symbol. For many an elephant represents patience and wisdom. For others it symbolizes energy, strength, and power. Even the Republican party uses it as their symbol for it´s association with memory, increased capacity or long-term. Elephants are revered as wise creatures with dignity, and long life spans. I could not get the elephant out of my head. So, I walked back to the trash can, and pulled my lucky token of good karma back out. I rewrapped it in the pretty kerchief, making sure it´s trunk was pointing upwards, and I reburied it under my topiary of roses. A beautiful secret memorial in my garden.

Speaking of Marie Antoinette, anyone craving cake?