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“So what is the inward order that makes it possible to shut out the chaos around me as I sit here? Perhaps a strong sense of what my priorities are – first friends, then work, then the garden. If I died suddenly, how bitterly I should regret work undone, friends unanswered. As for the garden, that is my secret extravagance and one has to have one! [Indeed. Mine isn’t gardening but I admire those who garden.] I learned when my mother died that a garden dies quickly without a loving gardener to keep it alive. In a year, hers had become a jungle. So the garden is perhaps irrelevant as an ethical compulsion. [Good to know. The reason I am not much of a gardener is that it becomes like an ethical compulsion and therefore I can’t enjoy it; I can only see the weeds.] No one but me really sees this garden, suffers when there is drought, rejoices when a rose I had thought dead suddenly flowers or the tree peony, which looked quite “gone,” shows a spray of new leaves and a sudden renascence. The garden is where my madness lies, and is a more useful madness than drunkenness or a tantrum. The garden takes care of the daimon very well these days.”

— May Sarton, At Seventy: A Journal


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