Recently I visited the University of Oxford Botanic Garden, in Oxford, UK. It was so beautiful that I thought you might like to hear about it too.
The University of Oxford Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in Great Britain and one of the oldest scientific gardens in the world. The garden was founded in 1621 as a physic garden growing plants for medicinal research. Today it contains over 8,000 different plant species on over 4½ acres. It is one of the most diverse yet compact collections of plants in the world and includes representatives from over 90% of the higher plant families.
"I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling."
—Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums (if you enjoyed this quote, you might also like this post about Beauty being the experience of self rememberance)
Nature is phenomenal. Like poems and other beautiful things, the natural world has the power to remind you of your true nature. To transport you in one glance to your loveliest, most loving self. This is one of the reasons why I encourage you to explore the natural world as part of your meditation
"This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls."
—John Muir, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir (If you liked this, you might also like this post about the things we can learn from nature)
My friend and I payed our visit on a sunny mid June weekday afternoon. It wasn't too busy, which meant we had plenty of space and time to meander down the lush green aisles, reading the different information boards and taking in the beauty of the garden.
Mid-meander we were able to lie under the apple trees to read our new books and take a siesta. It was divine! - And such a blessing on a baking hot afternoon in the city.
As we lay togther, two good friends under the apple tree I felt glad of our friendship and grateful to find respite from the hot sun. A quote from Kobayashi Issa came to my mind. “In the cherry blossom's shade there's no such thing as a stranger.” It's a lovely saying isn't it.
If you ever find yourself in Oxford, the botanical gardens could be a beautiful place for you to visit.
To learn more you can view the garden website here
Photos via Instagram