My visit to the Naples Botanical Garden on this recent morning had a different feel to it – I was in a strange state of mind that I am struggling to define. I very seldom head for the garden with an agenda, that I’m going to photograph landscapes or succulents or textures. The morning and the garden speak to me, and I listen. I allow areas or scenes to pull me in, to pique my imagination, to challenge my creative desires.
I was feeling a lot of body fatigue that made me want to find a bench to sit and wait for life to come to me, maybe even pass me by. Instead my mind was captivated by the unique colors and creative lighting at the lily pond.
The light defined what was important to photograph. The flowers I have seen before appeared different, and the single water flower floating high above the water was impossible to ignore. I felt the earth stretching and yawning as the sun rose above the surrounding trees.
The color, texture and composition of these lily pads displayed an aging beauty in the soft morning light. The water surface laid still from lack of a breeze, not able to compete for textural attention.
Maybe what I saw reflected the fatigue in my body, but the flowers seemed to be slow to reach out to the sun. There seemed to be no urgency. All the flowers and foliage appeared to be comfortable just being in time and place.
How silly of me to assign human thought and motive to plant material. We frequently see ourselves, project our own thoughts and emotions onto what we see. Maybe all that I am saying about the garden on this morning is really what I was experiencing in my mind and body.
When I left the lily pond, I decided to walk along the path between the formal garden and the lake in the natural garden. My desired destination was the benches along this walk, I still felt the need to be still. My reward was watching an egret fishing for some morning morsels. When I moved on to another bench, I watched a tri-colored heron preening and warming in the morning sun.
I didn’t spend as much time in the garden as is usual, and I even passed by the cafe where I normally stop for a scone and ginger limeade. We were between house guests and I knew I better watch calories because our guests want to make the most of their vacations and Naples is a phenomenal place for eating out. After close to a month of visitors my waist and tummy have responded.
I have missed that special culinary treat in the garden cafe so next time I’m going to indulge. For this visit, what I treasure is being comfortable just being in time and place as I photographed the garden.