Wednesday, 13 June 2018

The Book of Nature

Today was my first Wednesday retreat since coming home and where should I head but our beloved Botanic Gardens? This gum tree in the car park always signals, somehow, the entry into rest and this morning it was positively shining in the light.

It's been a busy two weeks since I've been back, picking up the threads of things, and I was conscious of a sense of being a bit wound up, not really having stopped fully for a while. As ever, the longer I spent in the gardens, contemplating the life around me, the more I came to rest and to feel myself being restored by simple presence to the beauty of the world.

Winter brings out the sculptural elements of trees, ferns, shrubs.

This double trunk looked like the feet of a giant.

Winter is also the time of the banksias - their amazing colours and delicate filamented flowers.

And a slightly hoarier banksia-man!

The medievals thought that God was revealed not only in the book of Scripture but in the book of Nature, and Meister Eckhart said: 'Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things. Every single creature is full of God and is a book about God. Every creature is a word of God'. I'm not sure exactly what this means - but an implication, I think, is that in being present to the world we are present to God. No wonder, then, that the practice of presence is so deeply healing and renewing.