To a visitor, a garden may seem a quiet, peaceful place for meditation. For the gardener, it can be the cause of physical pain, mental anguish, frustration and for the gardener’s spouse, well, it is often “a pain in the rear end!”
There has been much written recently about Holden Village and its 50th anniversary as a popular wilderness retreat. It is a place of respite, relaxation and renewal in a high-mountain setting of incredible beauty and peace. I’d heard about this wonderful place for most of the years I have lived in Wenatchee but never took the opportunity to visit until this summer.
My experience there reminded me what a joy it is to get away from daily concerns, work, responsibilities and troubles. Most of us take vacations and fun trips when we have the opportunity, but while I return with great memories, I am usually exhausted.
As gardeners, we all have experienced pushing ourselves to the limit of our endurance to accomplish a project for a deadline such as an important visitor, garden tour, garden party, etc. I know I have endured burnout more than once.
Going to Holden was a way to leave behind my busy life and enter a world of peace. The lovely setting, wholesome food, spiritual atmosphere and cheerful, friendly, helpful staff all combined to free me from my usual burdens.
I must admit, the absence of wi-fi, computers, cellphones and technology helped a great deal. I was freed to take challenging hikes to mountain waterfalls and lakes, eat ample food that nourished the body, meditate and read. Sitting by the river and looking at stones turned into a deeply spiritual exercise.
Not everyone will go to Holden and experience it as I did. But I do believe all of us, including gardeners, ought to care for ourselves in mind, spirit and body. These ideas are centuries old but we are a generation with the means and opportunity to get away and find peaceful tasks and enjoyment.
We are a busy generation addicted to technology and our frantic lives to the point that we often ignore the warning signs of burnout until it is too late and we are suffering illness and disruption of relationships.
I often find this needed restoration in my garden, and I believe it does help me maintain my equilibrium. Yet my garden also makes me work much harder than is sensible!
I truly hope that you can find a place apart, even for just a few days, to experience the inner peace that can rejuvenate your life.
A WSU Master Gardeners of Chelan County column appears regularly in the At Home section. Gloria Kupferman is one of three columnists featured.