It was the poet Edna St. Vincent who wrote: “O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!” I thought of that while walking the dog this morning. Our path winds along the river, which at this time of the year is a happy rippling mountain stream. The water gushes over boulders and rocks, the gurgling noise deeply satisfying and comforting. The trees and bushes have begun to sprout fresh green foliage, a welcome sight after seeing brown branches over winter. And everywhere, birdsong fills the air. O world, I cannot hold thee close enough: the sentiment resounds in the very air I breathe. Today morning, when everything seems extra sweet, be it the birds singing or the river flowing, or the branches swaying in the morning breeze. And everywhere, carpeted along the forest floor, deep blue and violet periwinkle shine like tiny stars from a deep green blanket of leaves. I see euphorbia with the acid-green buds strewn across an overgrown field of wild weeds. The bright red berries of sweet box shimmer up and against the stone walls that run along the path. And further up the road, where it bends and curves up the hillside, I cross the path that the snakes use to come down to the riverbed to hibernate in the winter. And soon, as the sun grows stronger and the air hotter, they will make their way to the top of the mountain to lie under the yellow sun on flat stones. All the promises of what is to come also brings with it an acute awareness of the fragile nature of our existence. What if tomorrow I have to release this world from my hands, what if later this week, I cannot see the clouds as they move through all the shapes of the imagination across the sky? What if, this world, that I cannot hold close enough, would cease to exist for me?
More so than ever, perhaps the time to consolidate with ourselves has arrived. This particular time invites us to arrive at conclusions with our fragility and vulnerability. A time for peace, with ourselves and thus the environment in which we exist is called for. When I am with my plants, I taste that peace not unlike a drop of honey. It is the sweet connection, the covenant I have with nature. The more I garden, the more I see the rise and fall of life, in this case of my plants. I sow the seeds, they grow, blossom and die. Something so obvious, something that is right before my eyes, and yet so elusive that I took all these years to start noticing the evident. And strangely enough, this impermanence of things imparts comfort and a certain ease. Contradictory as it may seem, peace arises from the awareness of the capricious nature of our existence. This is no rocket science, it only requires us to notice.
What do you see when you look around? What do you really see? And what happens when you do?