Sunday, June 26, 2011

Seeing with the eye of memory

"Gardeners , like everyone else, live second by second and minute by minute. What we see at one particular moment is then and there before us. But there is a second way of seeing. Seeing with the eye of memory, not the eye of our anatomy, calls up days and seasons past and years gone by." 
- Allen Lacy, The Gardener's Eye, 1992, p. 16

I've been making an effort recently to live in and appreciate the moments.  "Time marches on" is a cliche but a true one.  Sadly, we are often oblivious to time's movement.  There's a wonderful old Kodak commercial set to the song "Turn Around" (see it and read my blog post about it here) illustrating the role photographs play in rolling back time and helping us preserve our memories.  I've always loved family photographs, even photographs of relatives I never met and can't identify.  When our children were small and my husband was the primary family photographer I complained when he took pictures that didn't include people.  I didn't see much value in photographing landscapes and scenery without at least one person in the photo.  Now he teases me because I take hundreds of garden photos every month and rarely do they include a human face.
No, you aren't likely to see a face, but when I look at those photos I do see a part of myself.  I've invested a big piece of my spirit in this landscape outside our windows.  As I browse through photos and see how that landscape has changed over the last several years I go through a range of emotions.  I remember the joy at the first butterfly sighting, at the first bloom from a seed I planted, at the first hummingbird visiting the feeder. I remember the overwhelming sadness and anger at the loss of beautiful trees.  I remember the hard back-breaking work of clearing grass and preparing the first flowerbeds.  And I remember most of all how it all lifts my spirits and satisfies my soul.
This afternoon I took a look back at what I posted in June of last year and came upon this post that shows photos of the same view from our second floor balcony in its first two seasons.  
This is the photo from 2008, the year we started the bed in front of the fence.
And here are two pictures of the same area taken this afternoon.
Yes, time marches on - the garden grows and changes and as it does it changes me.  
It teaches me to be patient, to accept change, to recognize my limitations,
 to see the beauty in the detail as well as the whole.   
It reminds me of the circle of life.  It inspires awe.
It teaches me to relish the moments both now and in my memory.

17 comments:

Daricia said...

very pretty, ginny! i love seeing how your garden has changed and grown over the years.

FlowerLady said...

*** Yes, time marches on - the garden grows and changes and as it does it changes me.
It teaches me to be patient, to accept change, to recognize my limitations,
to see the beauty in the detail as well as the whole.
It reminds me of the circle of life. It inspires awe.
It teaches me to relish the moments both now and in my memory.
***

Well said ~ FlowerLady

Bernie said...

That was a great read today. Wonderufl thoughts on memories. Your garden has certainly developed into something wonderful and I'm sure you're proud of all your hard work. It will be fascinating watching the changes over the next few years to come.

Donna said...

Ginny your gardens have grown and flourished along with you..we make the changes in our lives so we can grow and flourish...what a wonderful post that spoke volumes to me right now in a time in my life that has been difficult...thx

NellJean said...

Three years make a huge difference in a garden. It must be a great pleasure to spend time in your garden.

It is a great idea to take photos of the same view periodically not only to note growth but record the changing seasons.

debsgarden said...

You have done a great job! Your hard work is paying off, and your garden is looking great! II also enjoy looking back and compare today's garden with years past, in my own garden but especially in others - that can be encouraging,even inspirational.

HolleyGarden said...

Now I've got that song stuck in my head! :) I am always amazed how much the garden changes every year. Yours is lovely. Only gardeners would understand the emotions that are brought up by looking at a landscape photo!

The Sage Butterfly said...

I, too, think back on when we first started and it brings back a lot of memories. It is always amazing to me to realize how much we have done...when most times I feel we are not moving fast enough. Your garden has grown into a beautiful place to gaze!

Toni said...

It is so fun to look back to see the progress and the fruits of our labors. I had a garden tour at my place this weekend and when I showed visitors my "before" pictures, the comment I heard the most was..."See, there's hope for us, we can do this." So it is an encouragement to others to see that our gardens started somewhere :-) I have found, too, that sometimes looking at a picture of my garden (as opposed to in person) helps me to look at it more objectively when I want to make changes, as odd as that may sound. Keep up the good work and keep taking pictures!

PlantPostings said...

This post was meaningful for me, too, since I've been looking at family photos for the past few weeks, getting ready for my daughter's graduation. Whew, you're right about the garden bringing back memories, too. Kleenex, please. :) What a wonderful, moving post!

carolynsshadegardens.com said...

You were so smart to take before photos. I have none and would love to make the comparison.

Karen said...

Wonderful before and after pictures, even if there wasn't a human face to be found, lol. (I do the same thing.)

Love the way your garden has developed and the wonderful sentiments you shared about time passing and to appreciate what we have now.

Sheila said...

I like your thoughts on the circle of life ... and appreciating the moment. Always, for me, easier to talk about than to do, though I try. Much easier away from the computer!

linniew said...

I have thought all these things! I agree that photos aren't much without people in them, except for garden photos. It is just impossible to remember how the plants change and grow and how much you have helped create without a record. I enjoyed this post a lot, thanks.

Alistair said...

Ginny your garden is looking beautiful and has developed so much in the three years. Keep it up, the transformation never becomes complete.

fer said...

Your garden looks amazing! is so great how much it has grown.

Oh, and one more thing, your header photo is beautiful!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

You have a lovely garden. I enjoy seeing wider views and photos taken at different times. I just planted a bare area in our yard this spring, and spent a lot of time trying to fill it in. It seemed to me that things were taking a long time to grow, and I was having trouble being patient, but now that there is lots of color and most plants have grown quite a lot, I am feeling better about it. I love your sentiments about gardening and time.