You are standing in front of an archway set in a long high wall of mellow old bricks. The archway frames a gate of heavy but plain wood, standing a little ajar, inviting you to investigate. It is twilight and the sky is starting to darken and as the sun slowly sets the sky changes colour steadily. Shades of rose pink, apricot and gold at the horizon deepen and then turn seamlessly to indigo. Birds are singing their evening songs and the air is full of the remnants of the day’s heat.
Push the gate open and step through.
You find yourself in a courtyard surrounded by high walls and filled with an atmosphere of peace and privacy. This is not overlooked by
anything and you feel safe and secure here. The courtyard is laid out
as a formal garden, in a somewhat Arabic style. At the centre is a
rectangular pool, lined with tiles of cobalt and midnight blue
decorated with geometric patterns in vivid colours that resemble
flowers. A simple fountain plays in the middle of the pool and the
falling water shimmers in the fading light, glowing brightly as the
last rays of the setting sun catch the droplets and make them light
up like molten gold.
The air is still warm from a day of sunshine but standing near the
fountain brings a pleasing coolness and freshness. The sound of the
water is gentle and musical and is a perfect counterpoint to the
The courtyard is filled with ornamental tubs planted densely with shrubs of varying sorts- bays rub shoulders with olive trees, and the
glossy leaves of citruses contrast with the silver-grey furry leaves
of lavenders. The walls are painted white and close to each wall is a
neat flowerbed each with a climbing plant trained up a trellis.
Tendrils of greenery reach down and brush your head as you walk
slowly round the little garden. Here and there a small candle burns
in a jar, flickering and dancing in the still air.
As you move you notice that the sky has passed through its sequence of colours and is now changing to deep midnight blue. A few stars are
now appearing and you see that the flowers on the climbers are tiny
white stars too, opening as the night begins and surrounding you with
their scent. The flowers are mostly pure clean white, slightly waxy
in appearance, their unopened buds pinkish, but some are a deep
crimson colour too. Whatever the colour the perfume that emerges is
sweet and heady and intoxicating. It comes in waves of intensity,
almost too powerful to enjoy, but fades away just at the point where
it might be unpleasant. The scent fills you with a sense of joy and a
longing you find hard to quantify.
At the far end of the garden directly opposite the gate where you came in is a white painted table and matching chairs, the ironwork complex and oriental in design. They are positioned so you can experience the full glory of this garden with its sights and sounds but most especially the scents.
Go and sit down.
In the middle of the table is a white porcelain teapot and two small
cups. A wisp of steam emerges from the teapot and if you lift the lid
you will see that it contains jasmine tea. If you wish, pour out two
cupfuls. Inhale the mingled fragrance of the tea and the jasmine.
Take a sip. Enjoy the taste as well as the fragrance.
If you wish, you may summon anyone you would like to share this moment with, sitting in this tranquil evening garden, the air filled with
the aroma of jasmine and the music of birds and falling water from
the fountain. Think who you would like to be here with you and as the idea forms in your mind, see the gate swinging open and watch them coming to join you. I will leave you in peace now to enjoy your time here.
The moon is rising, a sliver of silver in the starry sky and the air is
feeling cooler. Your visitor has left and the teapot is empty and so
are your cups. You feel peaceful and happy after your time here, and
a sense of joy still tingles in your blood. As you get to your feet
to leave, look round the courtyard one last time. It will be here
again exactly as you wish it to be next time you come. When you step
through the gate into your room again, notice that the scent of
jasmine, faint but resilient, clings to your hair and clothes.
Whenever you smell this fragrance again, you will recall the feelings
of peace and joy you felt in the garden.
Breathe deeply and fully several times before opening your eyes again. You are back.
Written as part of the Meditating with Aromatics project