Magazine article Anglican Journal

Books to Bring Readers Down to Earth

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Books to Bring Readers Down to Earth

Article excerpt

The Spirituality of Gardening By Donna Sinclair Northstone Publishing $40.00

A Mystic Garden Working with Soil, Attending to Soul By Gunilla Norris

THE GARDEN AS spiritual autobiography is a common theme explored by Donna Sinclair's The Spirituality of Gardening and Gunilla Norris" A Mystic Garden, Working with Soil, Attending to Soul.

The Spirituality of Gardening by Ms. Sinclair, an award-winning writer with the United Church Observer, has stunning photography and prose powerful enough to convert one Into a novice gardener or an environmentalist.

Ms. Sinclair declares that her book is about the spirituality of the garden that is "not attached to any one faith." There are references to stories from the Bible, the Talmud, native spirituality, and other beliefs and faiths. After all, she states, "the stories that illuminate the long relationship of the people of earth with their Creator are many and varied, and belong to all."

Divided into sections that explore the spiritual meanings of gardening, it is, in many ways, Ms. Sinclair's own story of faith. Yet she is smart and sensitive enough not to stick to her own divine afflatus--a trap that some writers of spiritual books succumb to, at their own peril. Instead, she intersperses her own spiritual journey with those of others. On gardening "as resistance," she reflects on the gardener as activist. Gardeners, she writes, see the world as Gaia (in Greek mythology, the early earth goddess), "one single organism, the living and sacred earth," and they become restless when they see governments "intent on licensing for harvest every forest, the lungs of the planet." In another, a reflection on the plight of farmer refugees, she tells the story of Central American campesinos making the dangerous return to their villages in the 1980s, because they say, "we must go home. Our children are forgetting how to plant the corn."

Her account of how nature and spirituality fu-st stirred her soul is poignant. "As a small child, I remember leaning over the side of our rowboat, letting my hand trail in the water. And I remember happiness; a powerful sense that I, and the water and the boat and the trees on the not-so-distant shore were one. As I grew older, I put away childish things." Fortunately, for Ms. Sinclair, her passion for gardening reconnected her with Eden. …

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