Thursday, 31 March 2011


“The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.” - Hanna Rion Ver Beck

I got home a little earlier than usual this evening and made the most of the fine, mild autumn evening and went out into the garden. The sun was setting, the evening air crisp and cool and the garden starting to become filled with violet shadows as it surrendered to the reign of approaching night. The sun turned the treetops a golden orange and the white flowers of the cosmos only shone out like beacons, but as the eye examined them the white was an illusion, their petals more a steely-greyish, light blue, their normally chrome yellow centres a drab beige. The red flowers of the azaleas and the roses were a crimson brown and the bright orange of the marigolds had turned a dull terracotta.

The crepuscular mood suited me well and I lingered in the advancing dusk, smelling the sweet fragrance of the late flowering jasmine, the bracing pungency of rue, the freshness of mint and pennyroyal, the flowery softness of rose geranium. I examined the reddish lantern-like physalis, the burgeoning seedpods of dying summer annuals and the yellowing leaves of the tomato plants, still holding on tenaciously to their ripening fruit. The foliage of the orange tree was a dark, vivid green and the small green unripe oranges full of life, promising bursts of juicy sunshine in the depths of winter ahead.

We rush around and keep ourselves forever busy, not really taking in much of what surrounds us. A veiny fern leaf hides so much beauty, a sun-warmed rock possesses a wealth of tactile pleasures, a sprig of rosemary conceals a thousand memories of the spicy aromas of Arabia. A ripe apple bursts in our mouth and releases sweetness and honeyed favoursome juices and remembrances of spring blossoms. The two-note chirping of a bird echoing in the evening light as the leaves rustle in the rising breeze, with the distant chiming of a wind-harp become a sweet symphony. Such simple things can give so many and such great pleasures, if only we sit, relax and take it all in…

The back garden this evening became a serene place, a quiet refuge, a cloister, an isolated hermitage. I secluded myself there and removed all thoughts from the rush of the day, the petty squabbles, the deceit and the treachery, the mad noise of traffic and the loud hubbub of crowds. The silent statues looked on complicitly and their smiles frozen in stone seemed to signal approbation of my little respite. I shut my mind to the harshness of environmental disasters, the agony of wretches battling for survival, the torment of populaces embroiled in wars and battles. I meditated on my good fortune and thanked with all my being the happy accident of my existence that was generous enough to allow me to enjoy this quiet time in the peace of an autumn garden.

It was in the mauve depths of late twilight that I made my way back into the warmly lit house, as the wind began to blow and its bite could be felt through my clothes. I had entered a temple and had prayed, I had mediated and had rejoiced. My senses had been refreshed and my mind lightened. Now it was time for me to return to the everyday routine and anticipate tomorrow as yet another day full of the mad rush of urban living. But I was grateful and refreshed, my mind was at ease and my heart was delighted…

crepuscular |krəˈpəskyələr| adjective
Of, resembling, or relating to twilight.
Zoology (of an animal) appearing or active in twilight.
ORIGIN mid 17th century: From Latin crepusculum ‘twilight’


  1. A gracious prayer and ode to Nature.

  2. I so enjoyed this post, Nicholas. Your quiet meditations in the twilit garden affected me in a positive and calming way. Thank you for this lovely poem in prose...