Entry: Nature hushing the mind Feb 9, 2004

To hush the channel-surfing mind in quest of distraction. That moment in the garden when I looked at the plectranthus coming up, dark and leafy, the first sign of autumn. Then noticing the flush of roses, with ‘Mermaid’ sprawling over the wall and the Crépuscule apricot and crowded on the bush. Then able to spot a few creamy flowerheads on the elder tree hung with dark fruit. Autumn ahead in this hemisphere. The garden stilling the mind, holding the senses captive. My hands smelling of the flowering calyxes of basil, fresh small-leaved tops of lemon thyme. A solitary undersized ripe fig on the tree near the decrepit lemon tree. Everything in that garden means something and demands gentle, perfect attention.

Later too in the kitchen. Cutting up vegetables at the table, a slightly blunt knife (safer for me), the scrubbed wooden board – piling up matchsticks of cucumber and carrot, shreds of red onion, topping and tailing thin green beans – to be stir-fried with garlic, soy, ginger, mustard and chilli – pausing to realise I was completely absorbed.

The ways in which the mind can anchor itself.


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