All the gardens I’m going to take you to have gates, walls, railings or fences. It is very clear you are either outside the garden or inside the garden. To cross the threshold you must buy a ticket or have a key or know the secret number. Entering one of these gardens will always cost you something – a rite of passage, a station of the cross, a mystery your body must recognize, like the pattern of sleeping and waking, the dreams that happen in between.
But when does it begin, this admission, this entering? Like eating a meal, reading a book, making love, where does anything start? When the intention gathers in your mind? When you make a choice?
Now, you read the address and look it up on the map. You start imagining your way there, your arrival and what wonders are waiting for you to discover. All these are beginnings, initiations, part of your experience of a garden. It starts inside you and when you’re there, your attention moves outside, until you leave and it becomes part of you and goes back inside. Interior, exterior. The process is circular like breathing. Inhale, exhale. Like eating, reading or making love, visiting a garden is an act of exchange, intimate, atavistic, therapeutic.
A Botanic Garden, as well as being a consolation inspires in other ways. You will be extended by it, always taking more back into the world than you brought with you. Your mind and your body will know more about itself. They will have learned something about healing what needs to be healed and saving what needs to be saved. You will carry the seeds of change inside you and not fear them.
The gate may close behind you with what sounds like finality, but you will take all the plants home inside you and when you speak of their beauty, your breath will blossom with their scent, their clever way with channeling light. So, you see, you have no choice but to come and go, imagine, visit. Enter.