It has been said that we all long to return to the original garden – perhaps this explains my immense sense of well being and gratitude on a recent supremely peaceful Sunday morning experience in Cambridge, UK.
We were guests of Westcott House; a training centre for future clergy of the Church of England - located in Jesus Lane (seriously!). Built in the late 1800's red brick buildings enclose a courtyard on four sides. Here, in the heart of the city, fruit trees grow, birds sing, blossoms and flowers abound.
The grass is left long on one side, refuge for the old turtle who dozes under the apple tree and for countless wildflowers others would call weeds. On the other side the grass is cut to a lawn, so students can sit and picnic and their kids play soccer. Even a palm tree grows here - 3 storeys high! Such is the protection the walls offer from stormy interferences of the meteorological or other kinds.
The men and women who are trained here for the ministry leave this place during the day to go to classes or to their church placements and at night they return to this oasis. The wooden doors that lead to the street are heavy and iron clad. Blessed are they who have a key to paradise!
Because paradise or garden of Eden it is – paradeisos, paradis, Eden, all come from the old Persian word for “walled garden”.
For me its a Sunday where I am on vacation. No service to lead, no duties this morning.
Because paradise or Garden of Eden it is – paradeisos, paradis, Eden; all come from the old Persian word for “walled garden”.
Given the accelerating pace of climate chaos and extinction, global political polarizations and increasing injustice I ask myself more and more often: who or what keeps us from falling?
In my walks I came across this delicate fabrication of a nest.
Small, made of dried grasses and leaves, suspended on thin threads between the tender branches of a beech sapling, it had nevertheless survived long after its occupants left. It had remained intact through November and its winds, the January snow, February rains, and a March hurricane force wind storm. Something so delicate; yet still in balance, still habitable, still functioning.
There came again a time in February when I got “Nova Scotia Cabin Fever”; that state by now fairly familiar to me when I just can't stand the bleak winter landscape around here any longer. Fields lay bare and brown, the ocean day after day displayed a greenish gray that makes your bones freeze just by looking at it, and the skies overcast.
Day after day after day. Mood: Downcast.
Travelling south doesn't tempt me, but I figured that the woods might contribute to lifting my spirits. Even without snow a healthy woodland would be interesting: Mosses and creeks running, smells of evergreen needles, towering trees.
I wondered, "How much space does a person really need?"