In Japanese landscape gardening the word shakkei means “borrowed view.” The designer “borrows,” or incorporates, any view beyond property borders, thereby visually enlarging his own property and landscape.
This winter in Northampton has meant enclosure in the house, trapped by unrelenting cold and snow, and enclosure in the car on the rare occasions when the roads were clear and we could venture out. As a devout claustrophobic, this has truly been the winter of my discontent. There’s only one thing I’ve found so far that the snow is good for:
I’ve also run out of any innate wisdom I might have had on how to deal with it. So I’m taking this leaf from the Japanese, and borrowing the wisdom I need. Today the words I’m borrowing were written by George Santayana, philosopher, essayist, and all-around “man of letters.”
My day has been a very mixed bag so far. Some excellent things happened: the sun shone, the thermometer struggled above freezing to rise triumphantly into the low 40s (F.) by this afternoon. A visitor came this morning whom I’d never met before, and she proved to be a truly kindred soul. I love when that happens! However today also brought a leak in the den from the ice dam weighing on the roof above, and it brought a finding from the Hub’s recent scan of “something” where there had been nothing. Like I said, mixed.
So imagine how serendipitous it was to discover this quote on my daily planner:
“The world is not respectable; it is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever; but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laughter; and in these, the spirit blooms timidly, and struggles to the light amid the thorns.”
I’ll carry these words, especially the last phrases, as a watchword with me into tomorrow!
How do you bloom? Timidly? Boldly? Are you up there already in the light? Or does it take a struggle?