The Heart of Winter in the Garden
by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Happy New Year everyone!
In the cold of winter, and the hustle and bustle of the holiday, I found myself rushing to get everything done under the deadline of Christmas, a daughter’s 9th birthday and preparations for a holiday party. In an effort to cut corners to make just a smidge more time, I cut down on my walks through the Garden, labeling them an indulgence. I drove straight to my office, got out of my car and went to “work.” Wow, what a big mistake. I missed the Garden so much. I found it harder to concentrate and to connect to the work I was doing. Everything was harder. Walking through the Garden is a guilty pleasure of mine, and often my favorite part of my day. More than anything, it helps me feel connected to the Garden, to my job, and to nature. And just because it is winter, doesn’t make it any different.
The Garden is just as beautiful, and the search for beauty is perhaps more of a hunt, but just as rewarding.
This week I could stand it no longer — I had to walk though the Garden. No matter how much work I had to get done, I knew I just needed it. The fact that it was the coldest day of the year didn’t matter. I parked at the Robins Visitor Center entrance to the Garden and noticed the the weeping conifer on my way in. I walked through the warm lobby saying “Hi” to a few friends. Then, out into the Garden. It was just what I needed.
The brisk air woke my senses. Walking down the hill to the lake, I noticed the solemness of the ice-locked lotus stems, the Monet bridge and the icey lake reflected my mood exactly. Peaceful. Quiet, except for the birds. And a bit of longing. Winter is a sacred time. A time to reflect on the year, to cherish and remember the beauty and love of spring and summer, by reflecting on its absence. A time to view the beauty in the the sadness in the weeping conifer. A time to remember the sacred lotus in all its glory, now bending to the harshness of cold winter. But also a time to see the laughter in the fronds of feathery grasses when the wind blows, and joyfully discover the gorgeous beauty berry in the heart of winter with its perfect lavender circles reminding us that the days will be getting longer now, the Grape Hyacinth (echoing the beauty berry) and crocus will be emerging before we know it. We can take comfort in the value added to the things we love most — often the things we cherish most are those that we cannot take for granted because they must leave us, only to return again. The cycle of life echoed in nature for everyone to remember.