The Way We Are in Nature

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A streak of sunset pink across the sky above Carnegie Hill. Photo: JH.

Diary, Monday, February 25, 2024. A cold but very bright sunny Sunday yesterday in New York with temps touching 40 and predictions for the week taking us up to the low 50s. And the afternoon light lasting longer, promising to us optimists.

The world today; two things. A “comment” re an article about moon landings. I often read comments to see where people’s thoughts, etc. are at. This was one of the reader’s comments about the facts:

I was 4 or 5 when we landed on the moon, allegedly.  I bought it then but 55 years later, I’m not buying this landing or any other landing. JFK was killed before I came into this world, by a lone gunman, allegedly, but we’ve never been allowed to see all of the records, in my entire lifetime.  Not buying that either.  Also, not buying 2 towers and surrounding buildings, totally collapsing into their own footprint, after being hit at random angles from aircraft.

A view of lower Manhattan. Photo: JH.

You can easily fall into thinking that is just the Way We Are in Nature. Creatures who behave thusly. We are definitely the monsters of the natural world, a danger to all the other creatures large or infinitesimal. I’m referring to “us” as a creature, a human being. That is our Nature.

I don’t mention this to be controversial. Individually, and even in the millions, there are many of us who are indeed wonderful and a gift for all. But then we are also — when indeed it can be argued seriously —  all living in a dangerous world.

It also seems to me that we are merely creatures in time on this planet; and in the past twenty/thirty years of this lifetime, the “vibe” in the world has changed dramatically. And people are naturally frightened. Ultimately I worry about the children and the animals; they are our angels who must be protected.

Much if not most of it is out of our hands, out of our control. Our own individual behavior is required in making a “good” impression; one not to be feared in any way.

Click to order Bunny Williams: Life in the Garden.

Meanwhile, someone sent me this book last week. It’s a big book, coffee table size and thick. And the cover is obviously the story, although…

Bunny Williams: Life in the Garden was written/produced/created by Bunny Williams. You know her, or you’ve heard of her or heard the name an easy and comfortable one to remember. If you didn’t know, this Bunny is also a world-prominent interior decorator/designer and one of those people who works — labors all of the time. They’re basically artists, through and through. They can’t help it.

So I got this book. I wondered why it was sent to me as I’m not knowledgeable about gardening; I’ve never even attempted to garden except for putting the warm weather flowers on my terrace. I love flowers of course; it’s natural beauty surrounding you; how bad can that be?

Actually I felt a little guilty because books are sent to me frequently for promoting. I get it and I love books to the (near) point of delusion (exaggerating of course). But a big thick book about flowers isn’t a frequent consideration.

So I opened it. It takes place (yes) at a house of Bunny’s upstate. I’d never been there but I’d seen photos of it. Country. Fresh. Natural beauty everywhere. Everything is the artist’s tools. And so I’m looking, turning the pages and unintentionally finding myself  obsessed with this beautiful piece (and peace) of work.

Bunny’s property boasts a parterre garden, year-round conservatory, extensive vegetable garden, orchard, woodlands, an aviary with exotic fowl, and a rustic poolside Greek Revival–style folly. Williams plants tulips in the fall for a pink spring display. Photo: Annie Schlechter.

I was reminded that I am a city boy, living amongst the roads and the walls, and here is My Relief. This book is a piece of working art. In other words you’re giving in and it’s taking over. You don’t have a beautiful garden? OK. Bunny Williams will take you slowly (so you can put it down and pick it up again when the thought occurs) through a beautiful garden before you.

Now, this sounds corny even to me, but for the past week I’ve been thinking about how to tell you about this amazing book. Like I said, I’m not (I thought anyway) a “garden” active person, although I do like it when I’m occasionally sent some flora and fauna. This book is like that; nice on arrival. But it’s also a reminder and a good exercise to remind oneself for the pleasure of Mother Nature.

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