No Temple made by mortal human hands can ever compare to the Temple made by the gods themselves. That building of wood and stone that houses us and that many believe conceals the great Secret Temple from prying eyes, somewhere in its heart of hearts, is but a decoy for the masses who need this simple concrete thing in their lives. The real Temple is the whole world, and there is nothing as divinely blessed as a blooming growing garden.
The Sunlight on the GardenThe sunlight on the gardenHardens and grows cold,We cannot cage the minuteWithin its nets of gold,When all is toldWe cannot beg for pardon.Our freedom as free lancesAdvances towards its end;The earth compels, upon itSonnets and birds descend;And soon, my friend,We shall have no time for dances.The sky was good for flyingDefying the church bellsAnd every evil ironSiren and what it tells:The earth compels,We are dying, Egypt, dyingAnd not expecting pardon,Hardened in heart anew,But glad to have sat underThunder and rain with you,And grateful tooFor sunlight on the garden.
On the warm stone walls, climbing roses were just coming into bloom and great twisted branches of honeysuckle and clematis wrestled each other as they tumbled up and over the top of the wall. Against another wall were white apple blossoms on branches cut into sharp crucifixes and forced to lie flat against the stone. Below, the huge frilled lips of giant tulips in shades of white and cream nodded in their beds. They were almost finished now, spread open too far, splayed, exposing obscene black centers. I've never had my own garden but I suddenly recognized something in the tangle of this one that wasn't beauty. Passion, maybe. And something else. Rage.
After Nicholas hung up the phone, he watched his mother carry buckets and garden tools across the couch grass toward a bed that would, come spring, be brightly ablaze as tropical coral with colorful arctotis, impatiens, and petunias. Katherine dug with hard chopping strokes, pulling out wandering jew and oxalis, tossing the uprooted weeds into a black pot beside her.The garden will be beautiful, he thought. But how do the weeds feel about it? Sacrifices must be made.
At Bramasole, the first secret spot that draws me outside is a stump and board bench on a high terrace overlooking the lake and valley. Before I sit down, I must bang the board against a tree to knock off all the ants. Then I'm happy. With a stunted oak tree for shelter and a never-ending view, I am hidden. No one knows where I am. The nine-year-old's thrill of the hideout under the hydrangea comes back: My mother is calling me and I am not answering.
Anthropocentric as [the gardener] may be, he recognizes that he is dependent for his health and survival on many other forms of life, so he is careful to take their interests into account in whatever he does. He is in fact a wilderness advocate of a certain kind. It is when he respects and nurtures the wilderness of his soil and his plants that his garden seems to flourish most. Wildness, he has found, resides not only out there, but right here: in his soil, in his plants, even in himself...But wildness is more a quality than a place, and though humans can't manufacture it, they can nourish and husband it...The gardener cultivates wildness, but he does so carefully and respectfully, in full recognition of its mystery.
In the same way that the picturesque designers were always careful to include some reminder of our mortality in their gardens -- a ruin, sometimes even a dead tree -- the act of leaving parts of the garden untended, and calling attention to its margins, seems to undermine any pretense to perfect power or wisdom on the part of the gardener. The margins of our gardens can be tropes too, but figures of irony rather than transcendence -- antidotes, in fact, to our hubris. It may be in the margins of our gardens that we can discover fresh ways to bring our aesthetics and our ethics about the land into some meaningful alignment.
The garden has wrapped itself in autumn haze. An unusual autumn, lacking that thrill of vegetal warmth when the sap is still alive and holds up the trees, drunk on solar gold. It is the sorrowful climax of a summer's drought. Never before was I so struck by the cancerous emaciation in a garden. The leaves started turning yellow in July and began falling, like a dance of prematurely withered bodies.
It may well be on such a night of clouds and cruel colors that there is brought forth upon the earth such a portent as a respectable poet. You say you are a poet of law; I say you are a contradiction in terms. I only wonder there were not comets and earthquakes on the night you appeared in this garden.
What is it about human nature that when we are touched in a way that is life changing we want to share the experience with others. I have to think it is about bringing gifts from spirit back to the spirit in humans. All I know is that after I experienced the four years of intimate conversations with God/spirit/my higher self/the universe and the resulting growth and healing, I would ask myself, What should I do? and the answer was always, relentlessly, write a book and share it.