Letter to Monty Don

Dear Monty,

Good friends,wisdom and astrantia.

I half watched and half slept through Alistair Sooke and the Roman artwork he was discussing. I often do this when watching subjects which resonate with and relax me. I do this when you are presenting GW. It's not that either you or Alistair are boring, but that the subject matter relaxes me so much I have to fight my body sloughing off the stress of the week.

What struck me about the homes of the Romans is how familiar they are to me. The nature of humanity and our culture has changed little in 2000 plus years. We are still as cruel, still as inflamed, still as observant, still as politically corrupt and still as beautiful.
The fresco'd room of trees and birds and flowers as delicate, skillful and beautiful as the flower canvases by Winifred Nicholson.

Human nature it seems is fixed in a kind of default position, and although we have 'progress' (which inherently seems to destroy the planet we live on ) at heart, in the being of our beings we remain the same. So much for evolution, perhaps we have nowhere else to go ?

Solomon, the King who was gifted with wisdom searched for the meaning in life by trying out all kinds of hedonistic ways of getting satisfaction, but his conclusion can be seen in his words :  'For with much wisdom comes much sorrow, the more knowledge, the more grief.'

This is it then, there is no higher calling or purpose to our lives. The evidence seems to suggest as much.

And yet for me at least there is an existence, a connection beyond what is now and what has been. I sense it when I am with good friends, when I see beautiful things, when I feel the arms of a soul-mate around me. It is the same watching Nigel play with apples, or Alistair being amazed by Roman artwork, or Carol Klein enthusing about plants. I believe these things point to enlightenment and for me that comes in the form of forgiveness for what I am now and ever shall be. It is not complicated or tied up in ritual or many many words. It is almost a kind of sorrow.

Kerith Williams my good fiend gave me some astrantia and hostas for my garden. He had been to Ninfa in June with Christine, and they were enthralled by its beauty, I was enthralled by their generosity and love.

Sentimentality ?



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