Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Not transferable . . .

Much as I'd like to, I can’t possibly offer you the essence of Westonbirt's Arboretum in a letter.

Oh yes, I can show you photos of the magnificent trees . . . the woodland glades. . . . the azaleas . . . the bluebells . . . but the true essence is not visual, nor, sad to say, can it be interpreted in words.

All I can tell you is where to look for it . . . in the birdsong . . . the scented air . . . the peace . . . the harmony . . . the timelessness . . .
In all those elusive, evocative, yet indescribable factors, dwells the essence of the Arboretum.

Such things can't be captured, far less transposed back to London. They are, individually and collectively, a part of life that is essential, but transient.
Who knows, perhaps it is that very transience that makes them so precious?
We fool ourselves that we can capture life on a CD, on a DVD, that we can package and lay claim to all the natural world has to offer.
What rubbish! There’s no way of bottling pure magic . . . and, thank heaven, there never will be!

I spent over four hours in the Arboretum. Sitting . . . gazing . . . strolling . . . and constantly marvelling. If I spoke to Rupert at all, it was in whispers. Anything louder would have disturbed . . . disturbed what? I can't name it any more than you can. But who could deny that something was there. Let's call it a presence. A presence that is found in a place where nature presides and man can add nothing of value, and only cause disruption.

Wait a moment, as I write that last sentence I realise that there is something that man can bring to the scene. Something that is our unique gift. True, the natural world doesn't need it, but we are immeasurably enriched by the giving.
Yes . . . you know what I'm going to say.
We can bring gratitude . . . wonder . . . and praise.

All of which, I promise you, Rupert and I gave by the bucketful!