Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Tranquility of the Chinese Garden

"So I will build my altar in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,
And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields
Shall be the incense I will yeild to Thee."
S.T. Coleridge
It's one of those 'cloudy bright' days as my husband would say, the sun just barely shining through a film of gauzy clouds. The snow returned overnight, the gusty winds creating dramatic drifts of architectural sculptures and as I look out the window, our squirrels scamper in and out, over and under the drifts. It's been a long, cold winter and for some reason today I just began to dream about warmth and the return of the green landscape full of blooms and wildlife.
I was thinking about the garden and the cycles of life, remembering my trip last fall to the Chinese Garden in the heart of Portland, Oregon. Amid the hustle and bustle of downtown, shrouded by stone walls was an oasis of beauty and tranquility. I have now visited several Chinese gardens around the world and in each I find a special beauty in the simplicity of the plantings and the emphasis on the natural beauty of rock and water. And in this simplicity there comes a calm, a peacefulness that transcends time. Perhaps because Chinese gardens even today model those of the ancient past, a symbol of longevity and stability in an ever changing world. And yet as my reflective photo above shows the juxtaposition with the modern world of today. Sometimes I feel like the renowned author and illustrator Tash Tudor, who passed away last year, rooted in the past, straddling the abyss and yet being called to the future. But life as the seasons of the garden moves on and so must we. So today I will just enjoy the beauty and rest that has presented itself and continue to dream patiently about what is to come, remembering the ancient wisdom of this old proverb:
"Patience is a flower that grows not in everyone's garden."

1 comment:

  1. Patience is hiding under a foot of snow. May she have mercy and show her face soon!