Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tending My Own Garden

We've been back from Europe for a week--as of today. As I look back, I am struck by something. Every one of my peak experiences--the best of the best--was time spent in a garden.

Sure--there were other incredible sights and experiences. Opera Garnier in Paris, Notre Dame Cathedral, York Minster. Going back to Hampton Court Palace was delightful, and the Tower of London is always great.

But the times when I was happiest, most at peace and most contented, were in gardens.

It helped that we had some spectacular weather, of course. Perfect summer days are rare, and are also perfect no matter where you are. But a perfect summer day spent at--for example--Petit Trianon is especially amazing.

Stratford-upon-Avon was another perfect day, and two more perfect gardens.

The gardens behind New Place, Shakespeare's last residence (now destroyed):

And the gardens of Anne Hathaway's Cottage.

Of course, I loved our trip, and I loved being there and seeing everything. But what I'm finding I miss the most are the lovely summer days in the gardens. Summer days like we are having right now--sunny, breezy, warm but not hot.

So while I would go back again like a shot, I think I might be able to keep the feel of our vacation here at home by renovating and maintaining our own garden. Voltaire may have been right about that.

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