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Mindful : June 2013
particular tree every day. “It’s the only green thing in his world, but every day as he goes to the subway, he checks in with the tree. What color is it today? Are any animals interacting with it? Touch- ing base with that one natural thing ma kes him more connected to nature than many people I know who live in the country—because he’s made a practice of giving his senses to a particular part of the natural world on a regular basis.” These days, Haskell says, “I don’t go to the same patch of forest as often. But when I can, I get out to some natural area every day and try to pay attention.” He says that his year of forest visits gave him a renewed sense that we find wonder and amazement in the world by giving it our attention. “The same is also true for the cultural and human histories of a particular area—the more we give them our atten- tion, the more interesting they become, the more richly variegated,” says Haskell. “That realization is very enriching in many different aspects in life.” Restore Yourself If you live in Clevela nd, you can get back to green in the Elizabeth and Nona Eva ns Restorative Garden within the city’s 10-acre Botanical Garden. There you can sit in the dappled shade of two grand oak trees and a Yulan magnolia, care- fully positioned so you can hear the wind rustle its leaves. “One of the things we try to do is help people pause,” says landscape architect David Kamp, who desig ned the garden. “Sometimes if you just pause, your fra me of mind changes.” The Restorative Garden offers three distinct settings with different functions and moods. One is the Garden for Horti- cultura l Therapy, which hosts programs for people with special needs. It is sunny and active, with stimulating colors a nd smells. And, as Kamp notes, everyone has needs for nature. “The whole idea was to invite every- one into the garden,” he says. “ We were conscious not to design it only for special needs. One of the things I believe in very strongly, and so do the garden admin- istrators, is that nature is beneficial for everyone.” Kamp’s favorite feature here is the Basil Walk. “It has narrow paths along which we planted 12 varieties of basil, and as you pass by it, the basil brushes against you. You ca rr y the scent home with you. I must admit, we didn’t plan it that way. It’s serendipitous.” In July, the basil garden hosts a food program, where people are invited to make pesto and different kinds of tea. “We have plants that are fragrant, color- ful, and very tasty. We have plants that are fuzzy and plants that are waxy,” says Jennifer McDowell, the director of guest and member ser vices at the Bota nical Garden. “It’s a g reat sensory experience.” Another setting, the Contemplative Garden, was created for calm and seren- ity. It was desig ned with muted colors and fragrances, and a water feature muffles outside noises. “ Because it is the highest part of the garden,” says Kamp, “it’s what most people would think of as a contemplative space.” It’s here that you can connect with those two great oaks → We find wonder and amazement in the world by giving it our attention. 38 mindful June 2013 nature