The Secret Garden by France H. Burnett is one of those books that shaped my childhood and ignited a profound love for literature and, unconsciously, nature. Ever since reading it, I’ve wanted to find my own little haven of peace, surrounded by flowers and green pastures where I could escape the tension and hassle of everyday life and dedicate some time to daydreaming, self-reflection, and contemplation.
Living in the city, I rejoice finding green spaces as I’m a firm believer in an urban/nature coexistence. Pure concrete jungle with only high rises and an absence of green scenery, no thanks. Public parks are a great way to unwind and momentarily shield ourselves from the environmental and noise pollution that come with living in a city. An increasing number of studies point out the importance for cities to maintain an appropriate level and quality of green spaces for their various benefits, such as increasing our physical/mental health and reinforcing social connection. Coincidentally, it’s during tough and challenging times that I particularly crave the need to reconnect with nature, trying to get rid of an inner restlessness that keeps creeping in. So I go to the park, I look around me, soak up the sun, take deep breaths, walk slowly, all these things that I can’t do when I’m on the run, and naturally I can feel my head clearer and my heartbeat more regular, thus allowing a feeling of serenity to overcome me. The place I found also has a little fountain and just sitting next to it for a few minutes, quietly listening to the sound of water lifts my spirits and tranquilizes my mind. Hard to believe that 2 minutes from that place, there’s traffic and construction chaos going on, but it’s actually the truth. It’s a zen spot in the middle of one of the town’s main artery.
For the longest time, I believed that keeping myself busy 24/7 would keep dark thoughts and depression at bay. I used to associate letting my mind wander with vulnerability. However, my stance has changed: I precisely need these moments of quietness where I allow my mind to run free and learn to just be present. As if being surrounded by nature offered an invisible protection, everytime I come here, I let go of any anger, tension and fear accumulated and the looming burn out over my head disappears. After 20-30 minutes, I feel refreshed, recharged, content and blissfully calm: a state powered by nature and nothing else. Minutes where the concept of time stops, where I simply enjoy to be here.
“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” – France H. Burnett
Have you found your secret garden?