A fleeting pleasure in the garden, before the return to ourselves

The visions, thoughts, and sounds, of a spring garden walk before the pandemic shutdown

by Kristin Jones

The Red Bridge at Memphis Botanic Garden

The Japanese have a phrase, mono no aware, that roughly translates to the awareness of impermanence, where we know our pleasure is fleeting and is soon to be followed by loss.⁠

These photos were taken at the Memphis Botanic Garden the day before they abruptly announced they were closing due to the pandemic.⁠

Enjoy your walking tour by first clicking on the audio above, then begin your Memphis Botanic Garden walk by clicking through the photo gallery below.

The trip to the garden was unplanned, and it happened because cherry trees only bloom for 2 weeks. The museum buildings were already closed, and walking around the mostly empty gardens was surreal, as many people were already observing the soon to be announced stay at home orders.

I think often how lucky I am to have seen the cherry blossom trees, as well as the tulip blooms at the Dixon later that afternoon. Both gardens announced they were closing within 24 hours of my visit.

Your walking tour continues below at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens. Click through the photo gallery.

Like the unique, bittersweet sadness of the cherry blossoms, I also wonder about this time in quarantine. It’s frustrating under the best of conditions, yes. But will I look back on this and be grateful for the time? Will I look back with nostalgia on all the things I was able to accomplish? On the amount of rest I was able to get? All of the meals I nourished myself with since I now have time to cook? Will I laugh at the fact that I still had no interest in deep cleaning my house, despite all the time in the world?⁠

This pandemic is temporary. But throughout all the chaos, it’s forcing us to look at ourselves. What qualities and traits live within us that we’ve been putting aside? What should we really focus on as we move forward?

The Cutting Garden at the Dixon Gallery and Garden

Author and speaker Brianna Wiest posted this excerpt that has really stayed with me through all the ups and downs and emotional turmoil we’ve all been going through:

You have an opportunity right now – not to necessarily become better, but maybe to become more settle, more whole. Maybe you’re being given a chance to quiet everything around you so that you can hear your own voice. Maybe you’re being given a chance to step into more of who you are meant to be, not less. Maybe what you’re feeling is a massive, collective reset – a chance to stop thinking about why you can’t morning routine and bullet journal and read and encourage your way into a life you never wanted in the first place. Right now, the question you have to be asking is: What do I actually want to return to?

In the Memphis Botanic Garden, photo by Vo Williams

Kristin Jones is a local costume designer and bespoke maker in the Memphis area for film, music videos, and concerts, and whose clothing designs have been published in magazines around the world. When she isn’t focusing on clothing, Kristin is immersed in the world of documentaries, freelancing for the Guardian, Imagine Entertainment, and Radical Media. Her musings have appeared in the Huffington Post, though you can find her most often at Kristin Magdalene.

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