Yesterday, we made a trip to a nearby arboretum. We went primarily to entertain my father-in-law and the kids. As we rounded the corner and the rose garden came into view, I found myself exclaiming at the beauty of it. I have never been much of a nature person. I appreciate it and want to protect it, but I’m not going on hikes every weekend or camping out whenever possible. Instead, I’ve gravitated toward nature tamed, in gardens large and small. Every major city I’ve visited, I’ve sought out the botanical gardens. I marvel at the order people are able to bring to what should be a chaotic growth of plants.
There was such an expanse of plants and trees and sculpture, we were constantly stopping to look at different things, pointing out certain types of trees or flowers or ferns. In doing so, I was able to forget everything else that was going on. For a few hours, there was nothing in my head except deciding which way to go down the path and reading guides to plants and sculptures. It’s been a very long time since that’s happened. Almost always, something is looming in the back of my mind, trying to push forward through my attempts at relaxation. I’m reminded that I need to do more of this, that I need to get away from reminders of my anxieties. Too often, I am in places where thoughts of tasks to be completed are easily brought to mind. The arboretum was fully foreign to me. I’d never been there. There was no one I knew there to remind me of work. I need to seek out more places like this. I also enjoyed the relative quiet of the whole place and the smells of flowers and rotting wood. Mr. Geeky and both lamented that we didn’t live among that kind of lushness anymore. Here, it’s unaffordable or too far from work and school. We agreed that we might think about finding such a place later in our lives.
I think often, when I visit gardens, about the fleeting nature of life as depicted in the poems of the carpe diem poets. How apt was their comparison of our lives to those of flowers, whose blooms are so brief. I was lucky to catch many flowers in bloom, but already some flowers were past their prime and in a few weeks, more will be. By the end of the summer, a rare few will bloom in fall. Most will be withered and the leaves will fall, preparing the soil to start over again next year.