GARDENS: AN ESSAY ON THE HUMAN CONDITION by Robert Pogue Harrison
This title caught my eye while browsing in my favorite bookstore in Austin, Texas and I really thought Brent would like it. I’m only about half way through it, but Harrison’s writing has me hooked. He shows us why gardens have become so important to us and we see how they have saturated our literature and our culture.
Each chapter is organized around a type of garden. For example: Eden, the temporary gardens of the homeless, or contemporary urban gardens which allows Harrison to explore, interrogate, meditate upon what these spaces tell us about the connection between earth, human, and spirit. Harrison argues that gardening is a path to patience and wisdom as an alternative to the restlessness of the human spirit.
As each of us spends time outdoors, either in our own garden or out in the world, there is an unusual type of communion that takes place between person and nature. Every weekend I see Brent in his element, almost as though in meditation, moving potted plants, watering with his ever-present watering can, propagating his palate of succulents, and at the end of the day he seems renewed. This fine book strives to define and almost undefinable bond between human and garden.
“Whereas most people believe gardening to be a subset of life, gardeners understand that life is a subset of gardening.” – Robert Pogue Harrison
Photo via The University of Chicago Press Books