Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Fragrance of God

People recommend books to me on a daily basis as I am known as some what of a book buff. And as an avid collector of books I check into almost all recommendation, never wanting to let one good book escape my library. Every once in awhile though, someone doesn't just recommend a book, they insist that I buy it and that I can't live without it. Such is the book by Vigen Guroian , The Fragrance of God. This book is unlike any other gardening book I have read. It is the kind of book that I will re read every year as I find myself out of the garden due to inclement weather and on the verge of spring. Beautiful, inspiring and heart stirring, The Fragrance of God reminds us, or shows us for the first time, why we really garden.

What is it that causes us to toil and sweat over weeds we know will just return, probably stronger than ever? Why plan and dig and plant and weed when we can just load into an air conditioned car, drive to the air conditioned supermarket and buy perfectly clean versions of what comes out of the ground? Vigen knows. This is his personal journey through the seasons of his life, moving and staying, losing and finding, all relating to the garden. In The Fragrance of God Vigen takes us with him on a journey through the year’s
changing seasons as he reflects on the great biblical themes of the sublimity of God’s creation, on seeing the senses as “paths” to experiencing God and “the garden as a place of birth, death and renewal."
This is not a how-to gardening book but a look throughout the ages into why we garden and how gardening relates to our spiritual state. Vigen summons the words of Christian mystics from as far back as the first century who warned us of our tendencies to leave behind the senses and remind us that there was a time when beauty was the trademark of Christianity, when all of the senses were employed in the the worship of God and a true understanding of His Creation.

I remember reading of a discourse between Plato and some of his followers regarding the question of what happens when we forget true beauty. I was immediately reminded of that conversation when I passed a garden in a front yard that was planted entirely with plastic flowers. The haunting words of Plato came rushing back and continues to echo each time I witness such an abuse of the senses. What happens when we forget the beautiful scent of a rose - Glad Air Wicks. What happens when we forget the taste of strawberries from the garden still warm from the sun? We are assaulted with "strawberry" jello. Pockets that taste like - you name it - are the inheritance of our children if we are not careful to wade through the products that lie to our senses. Every once in a while we need an awakening and this book will certainly fill the bill.

This book is half gardening guide, half spiritual guide. Read it at your own risk. It will change the way you see, smell, taste, touch and hear.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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