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.