Henri Frederic Amiel was a Swiss philosopher and poet who lived from 1821 to 1881. He had a very modest amount of published works, the most famous of which was a book called “Journal Intime” (“Private Journal”). This volume was published after his death and has been praised for his fine observations.
“A modest garden contains for those who know how to look and wait, more instruction than a library.”
Another nature-inspired quote. And I just love this one! I love the idea of how very basic things that we tend to take for granted, growing plants for example, can provide useful information for us in any other area of our life.
I began to think of some of the ways this was true… I made a list of just a few. It was amazing to realize that one can observe a variety of social dynamics as well as many of the sciences. I thought that even planning the layout and the timing of planting brings in ideas that involve architectural concepts and math! Not to mention the “cultivation” of creative problem solving.
Isn’t that fascinating? Nature in its most mundane aspects really holds so much information for the patient observer, on any subject! (I want to also note here that many inventions throughout history have been inspired by watching birds, plants and animals.)
Here are just a few of the things I came up with that could be contemplated from observing a garden.
The passage of time as demonstrated by the blossoming of beauty and its decay.
Conflict and conflict resolution as shown in dealing with garden pests. (just one example)
Death as a bird swoops down and grabs a worm for its lunch (Sorry, I don’t mean to be a bummer here! Just a part of life.)
Social dynamics such as cooperation, symbiosis or inter-dependence of critters and insects… even between plants and insects!
What I particularly like about this quote is the observation part. One can learn so much from watching anything very carefully and with a receptive spirit. Sit in a park and really watch the squirrels, or dedicate a daily practice of watching the trees. They change. They react.
Even watch people going in and out of a store over time. I think what is so important about any kind of extended observation is that we can learn a lot about ourselves. There are patterns of movement operating at different cycles, sometimes much slower than we are aware of, but which we are a part of and influenced by. We are part of nature and nature is in us.
If you garden, this may already be part of your experience. Have you ever thought about how your gardening activities have informed other parts of your life? Are there any new ones that you can come up with?
Here’s hoping you are having a beautiful week!
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