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Leaves and Concrete

My Preferred Walking Surface

My Preferred Walking Surface

One of my meditations at Descanso Gardens related to the type of surface we walk on. For us city-dwellers, most of our lives are spent walking on artificial surfaces such as concrete, asphalt, wood, or padded carpets. Yesterday, I cut through the 150-acre wood consisting mostly of oak trees and camellias, roughly from a point just south of the lilac garden to the cactus garden on the other side of the park.

During most of that time, I was treading on a lush carpet of dead leaves and fallen camellia blossoms as pictured above. It was the most resilient surface on which I have ever walked. So much death all around me! But was it really? How much of our skin and hair do we slough off every day of our lives? Yet they are renewed (well, except maybe the hair), as are the leaves and camellia blossoms. It is a little death among so much life. And it made me think that, perhaps, we ourselves are like leaves or blossoms of a much larger living entity.

We hardly ever see ourselves that way, what with our gimme gimme now now lives and somewhat tawdry needs. Going to Descanso always makes me think about our role in the larger life of the planet. We have destroyed so many of the green spaces that make us realize our part in the universe; and, as a result, we have become unhappier and more disconnected.