. . . “poets have found religion in nature; people live in the country to learn virtue from plants. It is in their indifference that they are comforting.”
Virginia Woolf, On Being Ill
When I read Woolf’s essay, On Being Ill, while recovering from surgery earlier this summer, I was struck by that passage.
Surely nature’s indifference was a great part of my garden’s appeal in spring and summer 2020, when it seemed every other aspect of life was filled with need, worry, and unanswerable questions. I spent every possible minute tending my garden beds like I’d never tended them before.
But indifference alone doesn’t entirely explain the perennial allure of a garden to the Poet, the Artist, or the Scientist which are all really other names for Gardener. I admire plants for their beauty, and I take courage from their tenacity.
And when I’m still and quiet and allow myself to see it, it’s very difficult for me not to be struck with wonder at the web of relationships that make even a small garden possible. Which brings me right back to where I started – to Woolf and to finding religion in nature.
Wishing you wonder,