In the Garden

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As part of our weeklong family vacation in Palm Desert, California — loads of swimming, strolling, eating, playing and resting — we enjoyed touring the Shields Date Garden in Indio: sampling unique varieties of the ancient fruit in the general store, learning how they are harvested on the farm, and drinking heavenly date shakes!

IMG_3201 Unbelievably good…

The 17 acres of date farms, nearly a century old, provided another feature: they were graced by 14 scenes of statues depicting the life of Christ, a gift from an elderly couple’s garden in Vancouver that was transferred to the Shields Date Garden.

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Jesus and John the Baptist

The stunning sculptures lined a winding, walking path. It seemed unusual at first, and yet the setting – the stately palms, the sandy desert grounds, the dry breeze rustling the olive and citrus trees – fit the ancient yet eternal subject matter perfectly.

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Jesus Blesses the Little Children

One of my favorite stories, The Woman at the Well (John 4), was there as well, which has encouraged me at so many points in my life.

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The garden was beautiful: the striking poses, the intimate facial expressions, the verses and messages of hope.

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 The Crucifixion

There among the palms, I thought of a beloved hymn, a favorite of my father’s, (also the finale of the memorable film “Places in the Heart”), and one that has inspired so many for a century: “In the Garden.”

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

–Charles Austin Miles (1912)

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It was God’s sweet presence in a holy moment, there in the desert garden, reminding us that we are never alone. My family won’t forget it anytime soon.

Onward.

For more on the Shields Date Garden in Indio, CA, click here

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One thought on “In the Garden

  1. Loved the photos of this unique and remarkable Palm Garden. I know the statures made your visit all the more memorable. One of these years I must persuade my husband to take a trip to see this garden.

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