Do you think that a responsiveness to nature is a genetic gift like any other?
Are some people born more attuned to the ebb and flow of the natural processes all around us? Are they more inclined to notice the beauties around them? Are they more likely to feel nourished by what their senses can absorb?
And why do some landscapes speak to us, while others don't -- or at least not so much, or in the same way.
I've never felt that I was particularly responsive to nature, but there is something about England that makes me feel like a tuning fork which is vibrating to the perfect pitch.
Last night I was watering the garden in the early evening . . . and there was this magical combination of hot sun, cool earth and the smell of water soaking through herbs and flowers. I wish that I could capture it in words: the deliciousness; the sensual quality of pure notes of rose, thyme, lavender and basil.
I always feel keenly aware of that moment when the sun reaches its peak, and then begins its slow, but inevitable, decline again. It has that gorgeous repleteness, but also that shadow of decay, like a ripe piece of fruit or a full-blown rose.
Last November, we planted raspberry canes in the dull wet ground. They looked like lifeless sticks, and it was hard to believe that anything would or could fruit from them.
All through the spring, my daughter plotted the progress of rough green leaves and then tiny green beads and then, in late June, ripe red fruit. (It is midsummer, but autumn's apples and blackberries are already emerging, raw, hard and green.)
I wonder if gardeners find it easier to accept that the nature of life is constant change. Being new to cultivation, I am constantly surprised how quickly plants flower and fade or just lose their shape. Last week, the nepeta which was a perfect mound all spring had to be cut back. It had sprawled, and grown leggy, smothering a rose, a fuschia, a heuchera.
Today I read: One morning, Polly saw a crimson rose show its heart to the sun, only to fall in a cascade of petals by the end of the day. (from Love in Idleness, by Amanda Craig) Only a few days of sun and the ground has baked hard and dry. The roses fall apart in my hands.
Every clear, warm night we eat outside now. We try to follow Herrick's advice.