I rediscovered the wild beauty of Pasadena's Arlington Garden this week; I needed to walk the stone-edged labyrinth to gain some peace of spirit.
If you don't know the spot, it's serene oasis next to a busy street that substitutes as a freeway; drive by at the regular speed and you'll be sure to miss it. The garden is planted with native flora and tended with waterwise irrigation methods.
Around every twist of the path is another inviting bench, gazebo, or group of chairs. Bees and butterflies find much to keep themselves busy. Birds provide a continual, yet non-abtrusive symphony, and the air is filled with scents from herbs and flowers.
As I thought about the garden, and the peace I find there, this Mary Oliver poem came to mind, as it often does, when I'm at odds with myself over one thing or another. I hope you too will find words of encouragement from the trees, the wildflowers, the cacti, and all that is green and good.
When I Am Among the Trees
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
--Mary Oliver, from Thirst, Beacon Press, 2006
(Photos courtesy of the Arlington Garden website. Follow the hyperlink in the first paragraph for more photos and information.)