The title of this post comes from this poem by the poet Borges. Why did those words jump out at me? I think “in a forgotten garden” speaks to me of what is happening in our fast-paced world right now. Of what is missing (at least for me).
The Unending Rose
Five hundred years in the wake of the Hegira,
Persia looked down from its minarets
on the invasion of the desert lances,
and Attar of Nishapur gazed on a rose,
addressing it in words that had no sound,
as one who thinks rather than one who prays:
“Your fragile globe is in my hand; and time
is bending both of us, both unaware,
this afternoon, in a forgotten garden.
Your brittle shape is humid in the air.
The steady, tidal fullness of your fragrance
rises up to my old, declining face.
But I know you far longer than that child
who glimpsed you in the layers of a dream
or here, in this garden, once upon a morning.
The whiteness of the sun may well by yours
or the moon’s gold, or else the crimson stain
on the hard sword-edge in the victory.
I am blind and I know nothing, but I see
there are more ways to go; and everything
is an infinity of things. You, you are music,
rivers, firmaments, palaces, and angels,
O endless rose, intimate, without limit,
which the Lord will finally show to my dead eyes.”
Spanish; trans. Alastair Reid
At breakfast this morning, we were talking about the past decade and what it brought us. This conversation was sparked by an article I read in the Guardian that had us pretending the year is 2042 and we’re getting ready for a “decades” party circa 2010. (I love this prompt!). As we discussed it, we decided one of the big words we will remember from the 2010s is “trending”. We talked about how quickly everything was moving in culture and how information is so exponential. We’ve made a lot of advances in technology. And yet, it doesn’t always seem to be making life better for many people. People are hurting. The disconnection that many of us feel is starting to take its toll on us.
As the line from my art journal above suggests, I am working to “remove what covers happiness” in my life. Not that I expect life to be happy all the time but to actively remove what is standing in the way of it whether it’s a bad habit, a false perception, or something that is socially constructed. Something I’ve found since I left Facebook is that I’m spending far more time exploring my own interests and generally exploring the world-at-large in a different way. I’m digging it. There isn’t so much stimulus and so much of everyone else’s lives coming at me. That has me reaching more deeply into myself. Listening to my inner voice more. Reading.
My horoscope from Chani Nicholas this month was so on point (as always):
Spend time with yourself. Spend energy getting to the spaces you find rejuvenating. Spend your love on those that know how to return an investment. ~Chani Nicholas
being found in a forgotten garden
Part of “removing what covers happiness” has to do with social connections. I’ve stopped reaching out to folx who aren’t reaching back. That’s hard but feels necessary. I’ve spend time with dear friends and family but I’m seeing how shallow many of the connections I’ve had are. I don’t feel invested in changing that. Instead, I cherish the deeply-rooted relationships I have, including the one with myself.
I’m also revisiting my joy list and spending time getting real with myself. I’m enjoying blogging again. I feel reignited to blog after running across Austin Kleon’s blog. Like me, he “is an artist who writes” (his tagline) and I find both inspiration and kinship when I read his work. I love one of his recent blog posts, Art is the Fossil Record of the Artist. I agree. That’s part of why I create. I don’t want to lose track of myself and my life. Paying less attention to the daily lives of hundreds of people on social media has helped me a great deal in paying more attention to my own.
In 2042, I want my children and I to be looking back fondly rather than regretfully. We’re off to a good start. Happiness is starting to get uncovered, layer by layer.
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