I’m writing this from my very own room in a sweet little flat in Bristol, England. (She wrote calmly, while inside “squeeeeee”ing loudly and doing a happy dance.) I’ll be studying here at the University of Bristol for the next year. Getting my masters in Computer Science, for those who will inevitably ask 🙂
Considering that I spent probably at least 50% of my time growing up speaking in a British accent, and to this day it still pops out sometimes (I wish I could tell you why…I have never until very recently been in contact with anyone British…I just always knew that British accents were better than American accents, and all proper play should be done British-ly), all my favorite authors are English, and my favorite movie genre is period dramas (eg Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, The Young Victoria), and I’ve always had a fondness for tea, I suppose it was inevitable that I’d end up here at some point. Although there are plenty of proper Anglophiles that never make it here, so I feel so grateful for this opportunity. Proverbs 13:19 says, “The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul.” And so it is.
Throughout my travels, I have had a tendency to get to know and love cities through their parks. I love New York for Central Park and High Line. I love Boston for its Common, Reno for Idlewild, and now London for Hyde Park, St. James Park, and Kensington Gardens. (Sadly I’ve yet to explore any of the city parks in Bristol. There’s a lovely one I walked today, but it’s too far on the fringes to really be a city park. If there aren’t any good ones I’m afraid I may never truly love this city.) But London’s Parks were on a whole new level. There’s just something about an English garden.
How do they do that? What do the English know that makes their flowers run riot in the most beautiful possible way? How do they know just exactly where to add a water feature and what plants will compliment it best. Millenia of practice I suppose.
Earlier this year I was at a friend’s house and picked up a book called Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education, where the author talked about gardening being one of the most beautiful collaborations there is. We tend to have this idea that nature is better left untouched, that somehow wilderness is the only proper “nature.” Especially as Americans. Yet then you enter a garden, and here nature and man have worked together to make something beautiful. Mankind has, in fact, done as originally instructed way back in the garden. Maybe that’s why the job God gave Adam in Genesis was to “dress and keep” a garden. It was a partnership. Adam and God, tending to creation together. When it’s done right…it’s breathtaking. Plants are selected and planted carefully to highlight and compliment one another: one for smell, one for ground cover, one to attract the bees, all working together harmoniously. A little water, a little food, a little time, and God does His part to make it all grow and spread and morph into this beautiful sea of color. It’s pretty amazing.
Anyway, these were my musings of a Thursday afternoon while strolling through Hyde Park enjoying the flowers. As is my want, I started trying to take it farther and make some sort of metaphor out of it. But, I didn’t want to. It was a beautiful day in London (it was being kind to me), and I wanted to simply stop and smell the roses. I invite you to do the same 🙂