Part 8:

Here we are in one of the most pleasant parts of the Marquoir -- the garden of the day of your birth, or the garden of another happy day in your life, if you prefer.

I chose to mark down the day of my birth, as I have often asked myself questions about the "lost" first few years of my life.  What could I possibly have been doing between my birth and the time of my first solid memories?  I used a garden to symbolize this void, where all the pleasant and significant parts of my life have come to rest as if I had always carried them within me without knowing why.

I'm going to start with the flowering branch on the right, which is part of a flowering cherry tree.  Depending on the species and variety, this tree flowers sometime between late March and early May, and, being an April child, I think I've always considered this tree to be the one that touched me the most, partly because of its beauty when it's flowering but also because once it flowers, it produces my favorite fruit.

In this sampler, the cherry tree represents beauty and the power of spiritual renewal.  In our lives, we go through periods when we are in full bloom, others when we bear fruit and others that are barren and empty, but the trunk always stays the same and regenerates.

The bird shown at the top of the cherry tree branch is the one that comes to nibble away at the scraps of our lives.  He's always welcome -- even if he has a way of insinuating himself into other people's lives, he is never rejected.

The two butterflies are a tribute to flights of fancy and bohemian dreams.  They are the romantic travellers of the heart and their fragility makes them wild.  For me, they are the symbols that help me "go elsewhere" -- "everything's beautiful, everything's perfect" ... "go where the grass is greener".

The ladybugs near the butterflies, but also down below on either side of the number 15, are making their way around the linen.  I have a particular fondness for these insects, which I truly think can bring good luck -- so much so that when I am lucky enough for one of these little bugs to land on me, I instinctively make a wish.  They represent happiness in all its forms and are the bearers of good news.

The number 15 is the date of my birth.  I stitched a little "v" under the butterfly on top because I was born on Friday ("vendredi" in French).

You can figure out what day of the week your birthday was by visiting the following website:

The little rabbit standing up on its hind legs is a symbol of curiosity, with a hint of shyness!  :0))  Curiosity is in fact one of my faults; it's torture for me when someone tells me half a secret but doesn't follow through to the end!  Better to say nothing at all than to only tell part of a secret!!

A curious mind has been part of my personality since childhood.   But it's not overwhelming and I would classify it as one of my endearing faults.

By the way, a rabbit lying down in a sampler makes me think of mischievous or insincere people.

Just next to the rabbit is a four-leaf clover.  It brings luck to the person that picks it.  I stitched one because like the ladybugs, it's a symbol of happiness.   The only hitch is that I have never found one in my life!  Maybe that explains some things????  :0))

The little sparrow just above represents melancholy and fragility.   This is a totally personal view.  But that's how I see it, when I observe nature.

Melancholy is heavy baggage indeed, which I was given at birth.   I live with it, even if it makes me fragile in my choices and in my life in general.

The little chick behind the rabbit stands for a childlike spirit.   It's a character trait that I also picked up at birth.  :0))  I often "bust a cable" as we say here ("lose it" in the States) -- I need to  without even realizing it.  It's certainly linked to my general state of melancholy, which I get away from by remaining a child at heart.

The key in this section is the key to this garden.  It's with this key that we can delve into our memories.  It's the key to our baby books, and it's in this section that we will put all the good things about our personalities.

The lily of the valley just above the key is the only "good luck charm" that I don't believe in.  It must be the commercial aspect that ruins the image for me -- happiness cannot be bought and we can't buy it for someone else either.  (In France, lily of the valley is sold on May 1 as a symbol of luck).

For me, lily of the valley is just a pretty bit of springtime, just before the good weather and sunny days.

The flowerpot and watering can represent time in general (the days, months and years of the calendar).  It's the clock of our lives.

See you next month for part 9, where we'll discover the final part of our story...



Textes et illustrations ©Isabelle Vautier
Thank you very much to Susan Stumme for the translation in English of the pages of the Marquoir Story.