FROM MAY SARTON’S WELL is one of my favourite anthologies of her writing, a beautiful book richly illustrated by the photographs of her friend Edith Royce Schade. Each was herself a well, a deep well, and the springs of creativity and of life’s Spirit flowed freely within them. In writing and photography the life of Self rose up from the depths of their contemplative selves. May Sarton, writing of gardens
To the flowers we never have to say good-by forever. We grow older every year, but not the garden; it is reborn every spring.
There the door is always open into the “holy” – growth, birth, death. Every flower holds the whole mystery in its short cycle, and in the garden we are never far away from death, the fertilizing, good, creative death.
When I am gardening I do not think of anything at all; I am wholly involved in the physical work and when I go in, I feel whole again, centred. Why? I think maybe it is because when things pile up one does nothing with the whole of oneself. The next thing on the calendar is already moving in before one has finished whatever it is one is at. Then pressure builds up. Gardening empties the mind.
Emptying the mind. Always and everywhere at some time in every day I’m glad of the reminder, glad of the invitation to empty the mind. For I know that to draw upon the well in me (and I, like every other created thing have been graced with the gift of such a Well) I must enter into the depths of stillness and of silence. And I need to draw upon the well in order to do and to finish, later, “whatever it is one is at.” Though I love gardens I’m not actually a member of the fellowship of the green-fingered. All the more important then that I turn deliberately, daily, to the depths, to the silence, to the stillness, to the holy, fertilizing, mystery of prayer Where, and in Whom, all things live, and die, and live and die each day, and rise to spring.