The Healing Garden

The fishpond and resident green tree frog

The fish-pond and my sister’s resident green tree frog

Rachel Carson reminds me that ‘there is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature ‑ the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.’

What is it about nature, in all her expressions, that is somehow therapeutic? Why is it that my eyes crave to rest on green or why gazing at the sky or upon water is so calming? It can’t all be about ions. If, as Rachel suggests, reassurance is the answer, then the certainty that day will follow night, spring follow winter, might serve to stave off the primordial angst of the unknown.

But surely there is something deeper, on a more meaningful level that explains the spiritual need for nature in our lives? I don’t have the answer but I do sense at another level that connectedness is vital. The notion of the Web of Life has long been contemplated by those far wiser than I.

The genesis of my courtyard garden arose from a place of personal grief: loss of a loved one, an old identity, a lifestyle and a garden I had created over more than twenty years. The hard physical labour that was required to transform my tiny garden from an uninspiring patch of grass, exhausted my surplus nervous energy. Creative thoughts displaced the constant reeling of negative ones and helped to dispel the demon shades of despair and self-pity.

Having hands in the soil connects one with nature at the most fundamental level. Seeing plants and creatures thrive, being even a small part of that process, gives glimpse to the mysteries of life and reassures there is a reason for everything, albeit often ineffable.

My tiny garden taught me that something beautiful can emerge from the darkest depths, offering a safe place of hope, and peace.

When spirits are at their lowest ebb, seek sanctuary and healing in a garden.

The Buddha and the firepot

The Buddha and the firepot

Temple chimes - Malaysia

Temple chimes – Malaysia

The vegie gardeners 2014

The vegie gardeners 2014

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13 responses to “The Healing Garden

  1. I think you’re right about literally getting your hands into the soil connecting you with life. I think gardeners have an awareness of the seasons and the cycle of life that many of the rest of us may have forgotten.

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  2. Your garden reminds me of one I created out of nothing back when I spent some years living in the USA. It became my sanctuary, where I could escape the noise and business of city life. Now back home in Australia, I’m encouraged by the cottage gardens that have sprung up and are providing much needed enjoyment to many. I’d love to wander through yours, camera in hand. Simply beautiful.

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    • Thank you Kim. I like the fact that you ‘get’ my concept – garden as an allegory for life. You would be most welcome to photograph my garden, although ‘wander’ would not be the verb I would use : ). Perhaps ‘step’ would better describe it. It really is tiny.

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  3. I’m not a gardener Robyn but I do like pulling out weeds. What does that say about me I wonder? I can understand the joy you must get creating something beautiful from nothing and how therapeutic it must be🌷

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    • You have been a constant visitor to my garden Gina – thank you!
      Pulling out weeds, actual or metaphorical is always good. Of course one woman’s weed is another woman’s harvest. : )
      My library now has your book Killing Sunday on their shelves. It’s on my reading list.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your garden is a constant joy. Can’t wait to see photos of your frangipani in flower. One of my favourites.
    Hope you enjoy Killing Sunday. A photo of the book propped up in a little corner of your garden would be appreciated 😀😉

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