Garden Games

The kinds of ‘games’ that connect me to gardens and to other garden enthusiasts are those simple, indulgent childhood activities of exploration, of uncovering the unexpected, the mysterious, and that which remains a mystery even once it has been discovered: locked doors in moss-covered walls; inscriptions in a foreign tongue or initials in hearts carved on stone or wood; a floral scent that teases at not-quite-remembered memories; an insect that looks so unearthly, perhaps because I have never seen its like before, or perhaps because it is as yet an unrecorded species; water – water that is a mirror, that looking down I see below me a Narnian world that is so like our own but which, because it is almost the same, is more different than Africa – or water that is clear, that sends up lilypads and tempts me to shrink myself to become a fish, to leap in and adventure through this world-within-a-world, an unbreathing pioneer who would publish the survey of these uncharted depths nowhere but in a secret journal to be discovered generations hence like a Jules Verne cliché.

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