Nature, Wild and Tamed

Only as far as the masters of the world have called in nature to their aid, can they reach the height of magnificence. This is the meaning of their hanging-gardens, villas, garden-houses, islands, parks, and preserves.                                                                                 
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
 There’s nothing quite like standing on a mountain, or at the edge of a raging sea, or hiking through a verdant forest. Moving through or resting within the beauty of wilderness is healing, uplifting, strengthening, and enlightening.

But we must never undervalue gardeners of public spaces. These brave souls have undertaken not to show nature in its wild profusion of shapes and colours but rather to separate out specific entities and to say to us, here, look at this.

It’s significant that humanity was said to have originated in a garden and that a garden will constitute our final reward. The gardener is nature’s associate, extending and exalting in an effort to make her beauty more visible and more widely accessible. Sometimes it’s within this context of a park that one can learn to truly appreciate wildness.

The oak tree at the edge of a rushing brook, crowded in by others of its kind, can’t receive the same contemplation as the oak tree in the park, couched in empty space, pruned to show off its essential grace, nourished to reach its full potential.

The gardener engages in a mindful and mindfulness-enabling work, taking nature’s raw material and framing it, thus honouring its beauty and allowing the eye to better appreciate each object.

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