One of my favorite things is to walk through gardens. There was a time when I wanted to be a landscape designer. Formal gardens with history have stories to tell. I am fortunate to have a beautiful local garden to walk through regularly. It has been a confidant for many years now. I can sit on its benches, walk it path, listen to its fountains, find shelter under its trees or tea houses. It doesn’t matter the time of year, there is always something to connect to in the garden. There is always a message of growth, healing and opportunity.
The symbols in the garden can be obvious or subtle. There are the obvious metaphors of being rooted, sprouting, pruning, and weeding that can be applied to the self and the mind. What may be less obvious are the messages and meanings of the encounters during the time in the garden, or the direction of the walk, or even the season and weather conditions. Who I see in the garden, what are they doing, do I talk with them all can be metaphor for my internal landscape. When I go to my favorite garden, I usually text my good friend that works there. I want to connect, face to face, in friendship. I check in and chat. There is a way that I enter the garden. There is a pause, a breath and a greeting. As I meander through the grass paths, I listen, I feel the sun (if it is a sunny day) and I look. The quieter I get the more I can hear.
Sometimes, I sit on a garden bench and turn my face to the sun, like the flowers do, and simply rest. It recharges me. It grounds me. It is a way for me to support myself in all the busyness of my life. I am happy to steal these moments, to sit with the flowers and see their beauty. Flowers never have to say they are beautiful, or strong, or define themselves in anyway. They are just content being who they are. The rose is not jealous of the peony or envious of the wisteria. The rose is simply a rose, thorns and all. What would it be like to live this way, to be just as you are and content with it?
This painting, “Garden Sunshine,” was painted in 2015. This was early in my painting experience. What draws me into this painting is the warmth of the sun and the circular radiance of it. I am also drawn to the texture of the garden and the shadows. The simplicity of beauty is not lost on me. Life doesn’t have to be as hard as I make it at times. If only I turned my face to the sun, like the flowers, and just be. What about you?
Blessing and Peace on your journey.
Special thank you to Reynolda Gardens and their staff!