Poverty of the Soul Antidote

– Posted in: Garden Photography
Angel Unfolding - Tree Peony
Angel Unfolding – Tree Peony

Fran’s last post has prompted me to follow up with a couple of photos from a series I call “Angels Unfolding”.

She said in the previous post here at GGW: “Appreciating and connecting with nature is a profound way to vanquish the poverty of our souls. It can change our lives and significantly help transform our collective unconscious and the meaning of life on this earth, not only for ourselves, but for others.”

Fran worried that what she said “may sound hokey and New Age”, and yes it does – because I am right there with her.  Since I live at the very center of New Age hokeyness (Marin County, California) I think I am in a good place to take this conversation off the deep end of transformational thought.

Certainly for me, connecting with nature has vanquished many a dark moment and enlivened this soul. I work to share my connection with others; I think all of us here in this sphere of garden communications try to share nature’s astounding ability to transform our collective unconscious. But I remain cynical that we will transform the world. There is too much desperate poverty and starvation in places like Sudan and Bangladesh for our Western souls to even comprehend meaningful change in our time.

Yet, I will argue our very knowledge of the despair elsewhere in the world, just like the overwhelming amounts of knowledge we now have about everything from the origin of stars, to the html of computer programming, down to the income taxes of Joe the Plumber, means we as individuals are overwhelmed with information without meaning. Collectively we (someone) can handle all this information, but as individuals we need to attach meaning to something. We need not more and more information to find meaning, we need to simplify to get out into the real world and see, learn, and do with our own eyes, hands, and hearts.

I was once asked as a Waldorf school parent if I was worried about preparing my children for the real world. My answer was always “What ‘real world’ are you referring to?”. The big wide world full of overwhelming information is not my ‘real world’. None of us lives in the ‘real world’ – we create our own community and world of associations for which we hope to contribute, prosper, and give meaning to.

I worry that without nature to enliven our souls we will drift off into the virtual worlds that are now springing up as on-line universes. Indeed, I worry we who are reading and writing these blogs are contributing to poverty of the soul by these purely intellectual pursuits.

So, for me, to counteract this tendency to lose touch with what grounds us, to fight the poverty of the soul, to build a virtual community with a collective consciousness, and connect us with nature here in the blog world, I offer photos. Maybe once again the camera lies and creates meaning that the subject never intended. I do pray we find our own meaning in the beauty that surrounds us.

Angel unfolding, Rhododendron loderi

Blessings – and onward…

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Saxon Holt

Saxon Holt is the owner of PhotoBotanic.com, a garden picture resource for photographs, on-line workshops, and garden photography stories. An award winning photojournalist and Fellow of The Garden Writers Association with more than 25 garden books, he lives and gardens in Northern California. PhotoBotanic - Garden Photography online at www.photobotanic.com. https://photobotanic.com
Saxon Holt

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