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The Conservatory Garden

Here I am in the Conservatory Garden, allees of trees in bloom. An enclosure can be so profound—I don’t know what other word to choose. So pleasantly profound. So profound without being ponderous. So naturally profound without insistence or seriousity. I hear a plane, some chatter, horns on Fifth Ave. I see apartment buildings up high through the blossoms where one would expect sky. The park workers are gathered by the women's restroom, talking too loudly. Too loudly for me who wants to savor the peace of the garden: the silence underlying all walled gardens. They don’t care. They are here all day. This is their break from the garden. In a walled garden you are mostly in that spot where you are, there is no pressure to go anywhere else. Wherever you are you can engage a kind of bodily awareness that reaches to the edges of the garden. This is fun to do. The blossoms fall sparingly, then unsparingly. I look up and see lively dark shapes in the blossoms above. The art of being in the garden is contentment—not wising to be somewhere else. The horns on Fifth Avenue are a sound I have heard all my life. A guy with a paunch, fifties, longish hair walks by me pushing a spidery bike and then sits down for a tiny while in the blossom allee. A human being in a moment entirely by himself. People are taking pictures in the garden, listening to music—don’t do that, I think, listen to the garden, look at the garden direct with your eyes, but of course I am wrong. The virtual everything is here too. The virtual everything encloses the garden. Taking pictures is our way now of being in the present moment, our wish to own it and share it and keep it in an eternal present electronically encircling the earth. I try to imagine this particular garden as imbedded in the virtual domain that makes of the world an enclosed garden But a garden is superfluous, extra, completely unnecessary: pure delight. The world, in contrast, is full of necessity, strife, suffering, tragedy. But also pure joy and delight. From the point of view of the moon, in the context of the universe, the world is, indeed superfluous, extra, pure delight.

Conservatory garden through sleepy eyes.


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