Gardens of Delight

LEONARDO DA VINCI REGARDED NATURE AS THE SOURCE OF ALL KNOWLEDGE, AS WHERE WE BEGIN  TO SORT OUT THE RULES OF THE WORLD, DISCOVERING  HOW PLANTS AND ANIMALS GROW  AND  HOW  WE INTEGRATE, FIRST, OUR  NEEDS AND, ULTIMATELY, OUR PREFERENCES INTO THE LIMITATIONS AND POSSIBILITIES OF LIFE. THE MOST INVENTIVE MAN OF THE RENAISSANCE, DA VINCI FELT THERE WAS NO EFFECT WITHOUT CAUSE, NO INVENTION WITHOUT PURPOSE. I WANT TO ASK HIM, IS THE SIGHT OF A FLOWER IN BLOOM SUFFICIENT IN PURPOSE TO JUSTIFY MY DELIGHT? THE FLOWER BLOOM S FOR ITSELF, A STEP MERELY NECESSARY FOR ITS SEED TO RIPEN. MY DELIGHT IS NOT WITH THE SEED OR THE PROSPECT OF ANOTHER FLOWER LATER. MY DELIGHT IS SIMPLY WITH THE FLOWER’S BEAUTY NOW. I NEED TO TALK WITH LEONARDO—RIGHT AWAY.
When we chose the house  that would become our home in California—deep in Carmel Valley, where out of every window  I see mountains that  remind me of the Pyrenees—I started planting trees, even before all the crates were unpacked. You cannot speed up time. Just as people and cultures can absorb change only so fast, trees can establish root s only at the pace nature dictates. In honor of my children, Carla, Léhéna and Olivier, I planted olive trees—320 of them along the back and west side of the property.

This is the third house I’ve owned, and always I’ve started the planting before dealing with changes desired for the house itself. Everyone pitches in. It is a sign for each of us that we are putting down roots, that we are marrying ourselves to a vision we have of our future; that we are growing a life.