Maybe I’m behind the curve, but I’ve only recently discovered the concept of a moon garden. I was reading a new book by Episcopal priest and author Barbara Brown Taylor, “Learning to Walk in the Dark.” In her book, she explores the darker places, both in reality – caves, woods at night, homes sans electricity – and metaphorically – grief, illness, loneliness.
A moon garden contains white flowers, silver foliage, hopefully a water feature, and maybe some pale lights – candles, tiny white Christmas lights. It invites us into the dark in all its beauty, a place from which we instinctively run, but which holds deep wisdom.
Don’t cry. God has a plan. It will all work out for the best. These are the words of Solar people. They seek to cut short our pain but don’t allow us to explore its meaning. The moon garden invites us to stay for a while, sit in the beauty of the dark, experience what it wants to teach.
The people I know who are most compassionate are those who have walked through and learned from darkness. In her beautiful poem “Kindness,” Naomi Nye begins:
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness…
Of course, the moon garden has its romantic connotations, as well, another dark place of mystery and hidden things.
After work, after dinner, after chores, after the dog and the children have settled, step outside. Breathe in the coolness. Open your ears to the silence. Hold a white flower and walk in the dark.