In the Garden of the Senses– A Journal Entry


Mexican Sage

On Saturday morning I felt compelled to go to my local botanical garden. I say compelled because I had so many chores to do Saturday that I really didn’t have the time. Yet, I went.

When I entered the grounds, I wandered around a bit, snapping photos, until I found myself in a little area called “The Garden of the Senses.” This area is comprised of plants that have strong fragrances or are unique to the touch. A stone bird-bath with a fountain was situated in the middle surrounded by some arbor-covered benches. I realized then how tense I was and how much I needed to relax.

I settled on the bench and set my bag and camera aside. I sat upright without reclining on the back of the seat. I set my feet flat on the ground and let my hands and arms rest on the top of my knees. I closed my eyes and took in a long breath.

I focused my attention on my neck and face as I slowly exhaled. Then I did the same for my shoulders and so forth until I had focused my thoughts on each area of my body, releasing tension with each inward and outward breath.

Whenever a wayward thought entered my mind, such as what I needed to do that day or the trials of the past week, I would simply let them pass by and resettled my thoughts on my breath.

Soon, I became acutely aware of my surroundings. In the Garden of the Senses, I could smell the sweet and pungent fragrances of Rosemary and Mexican sage. I could hear birds chirping, the movement of the gardener in an adjacent patch, and the sound of dribbling water. I felt the breeze touching my face and arms. I opened my eyes and saw that about eight or ten little brown sparrows had settled into the bird bath, completely unaware of my presence and happily thrashing about.

Then I felt a sting on my ankles. I looked down and saw that I had situated myself near a string of black ants and some had commenced crawling on my feet and ankles. I decided that it was time to move on. Feeling refreshed and relaxed, I picked up my gear and began wandering along the paths of the garden.

I entered a patch of dahlias and cockscombs. Many of them were high, almost eye level with me and were of all manner of colors. Butterflies and bees were everywhere, flitting and buzzing from flower to flower. Being cautious of the bees, I slowly made my way through the patch. Then, something shiny caught my eye.

I approached a red cockscomb and saw that the flash was an iridescent beetle quietly grazing on the flower face. In the morning sun, the beetled glittered like a jewel in an amazing array of greens, blues, and pinks.

Generally, I am not fond of insects, but I was totally mesmerized and stood for several minutes observing the beetle. Then I realized that I had been called to garden to witness this simple but glorious display of nature.

The lessons I learned this morning are these:

I need to heed the call of the wild and enjoy the outdoors as frequently as I can;

I need to do deep breathing meditations more often, once a day for a few minutes to deal with daily stressors;

I need to be completely open to the surprises and wonders that nature offers.

Not a bad way to spend a morning, don’t you think?

Images and Text, Lori G. © 2007

Images: Mexican Sage; Green Beetle


13 responses »

  1. We had these beetles in the Three Sisters garden and call them scarab beetles, although I’m not actually sure that’s what they are. I have heard that in some countries, people put little chains on them and attach them to their clothes- alive!- as jewelry. Thanks so much for this picture and your description of your nature meditation.

  2. I’m not much into insects either, but we would be poorer without them. This one is gorgeous, proving to us yet again, that beauty is everywhere.


  3. We have too have a garden of the senses over the border from here. I think I will try and visit it next weekend. The image of the beetle is stunning – what a treat it must have been to see it

  4. Lori, the photo of the beetle is amazing. Have you thought about making a mandala of it?
    Also about the deep breathing meditations – have you read Ten Zen Seconds by Eric Maisel? I would highly recommend it.

  5. It looks like a Japanese Beetle to me. Which makes me wonder if the Japanese call them American beetles. They flock to roses in the summer and eat the leaves and blossoms. They are beautiful, though. I have a small memento from one–a bit of a scar where one crashed in just under my helmet’s face shield. They hurt at 60 mph!

  6. Nope, sorry, Lori and Quinn, that’s definitely not a Japanese beetle. I know becuse we have them every year and this year, we had TONS of them. They are much smaller than the beetle in Lori’s picture. I’ve been looking online for Lori’s beetle and I think it might be a Green Fig beetle. Check out some pictures of them online, Lori and let us know if that’s your beetle.

  7. Yep, that seems to be the bug– Cotinus mutabilis. I don’t think I could let one crawl around on my hand. Brrrrr………

    Thanks for the input everyone.

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