Several days ago, I embarked on a long weekend to Maine with the intention of cataloging it on social media. A whale-watching excursion out of Booth Bay—broadcast via Periscope—would be the high point. Fortunately, Mother Nature had other plans. Rough seas scrubbed my rendezvous with the whales. Instead, I disappeared into the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.
In 1991, a handful of mid-coast visionaries decided that the Pine Tree State should have a botanical garden. Five years later, they spotted a 128-acre property that included two-thirds of a mile of tidal water frontage, rolling forested landscape, and massive rock ledges. The purchase was an act of love: using their homes as collateral, the founders bought the parcel of land, once slated for development as a subdivision.
How did the gardens grow? Beautifully. The Lerner Garden of the Five Senses opened in 2009. Brushing past edible flowers, biting oniony-garlic chives, and fingering ruffled red cabbage, I pondered this sacred place where sight-impaired visitors and Alzheimer’s patients find healing.
I wandered the rest of the grounds in moment-to-moment wonder—the love song of dragonflies on a warm rock, whispering grasses and spritzing water, a monarch butterfly’s tiger patterns emerging from its pale chrysalis, a bee flying and crawling from flower to flower, collecting pollen, sipping nectar. Lacey, insect-chewed foliage marked the season’s walk with love and death.
In the steady diet of social media, it’s healthy to skip a few days—and nourish the mind, body, and spirit in real time.
“Talk of mysteries!—Think of our life in nature,— daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it,—rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! the solid earth! the actual world! the common sense! Contact! Contact! Who are we? where are we?”—Henry David Thoreau, The Maine Woods
Soul deep storyteller, editor, poet, writing coach, and social media human