Lilacs on a bush are better than orchids. And dandelions and devil grass are better! Why? Because they bend you over and turn you away from all the people and the town for a little while and sweat you and get you down where you remember you got a nose again. And when you’re all to yourself that way, you’re really yourself for a little while; you get to thinking things through, alone. Gardening is the handiest excuse for being a philosopher. Nobody guesses, nobody accuses, nobody knows, but there you are, Plato in the peonies, Socrates force-growing his own hemlock. A man toting a sack of blood manure across his lawn is kin to Atlas letting the world spin easy on his shoulder.
~ Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine
“Is it possible to become friends with a butterfly?”
“It is if you first become a part of nature. You suppress your presence as a human being, stay very still, and convince yourself that you are a tree or grass or a flower. It takes time, but once the butterfly lets its guard down, you can become friends quite naturally.”
~ Haruki Murakami, 1Q84
I may enter a zone of transcendence, in which I marvel at all the accidents of fate, since the beginning of life on earth, that led to my genes being created and my standing in this particular garden in a contemplative and imagining mind. I’ve been reading recently how reflection evolved. What a fascinating solution to the rigors of survival … how amazing that a few basic ingredients — the same ones that form the mountains, plants, and rivers — when arranged differently and stressed could result in us.
More and more of late, I find myself standing outside of life, with a sense of the human saga laid out before me. It is a private vision, balanced between youth and old age, a vision in which I understand how caught up in striving we humans get, and a little of why, and how difficult it is even to recognize, since it feels integral to our nature and is, but I find it interesting that, according to many religions, life begins and ends in a garden.
~ Diane Ackerman, Cultivating Delight: A Natural History of My Garden
Today you will say things you can predict and other things you could never imagine this minute. Don’t reject them, let them come through when they’re ready, don’t think you can plan it all out. This day will never, no matter how long you live, happen again. It is exquisitely singular. It will never again be exactly repeated.
~ Naomi Shihab Nye