Meditations upon Cicero
‘For where… can a man,’ asked Cato, ‘in that last stage of life more easily find the comforts in winter of a warm sun or a good fire? Or the benefits in summer of cooling shades and refreshing streams?’
I have a new computer and I want to make the ABC my home page. But I can’t perform this simple exercise. Instead my eye takes me to an enticing sounding blog: put gardens the ancient greeks and libraries in the one title and you’ve got me..
It got me thinking about how damn RELAVENT those wise head’s musings still seem. Cicero:
‘If you have a garden in your library,’ wrote Cicero to his new friend, ‘we will want for nothing.’
Writes Damon Young: ‘This might read strangely to modern eyes, used to sterile, air-conditioned libraries, with strict humidity controls and rules about whispering. But in Republican Rome, libraries were ordinary buildings, rarely specialised or purpose-built. A bibliotheca may simply have been plain stone and wood rooms, in one wing of a building, stacked with papyrus rolls or even wax tablets.’
aaah..the serendipitous role of computers..one minute I’m fumbling for the mouse that isn’t there on this new fangled machine. Next minute I’m transported to Cicero’s lush garden where he contemplated the ‘lush, juicy fruit’ of his newly planted grapevine.
‘I follow nature as my surest guide,’ wrote Cicero in On Old Age, ‘and resign myself with an implicit obedience to her sacred ordinances.’
And so to my little back garden, where I will contemplate the beauty around me. I look to the sky and inhale its blue warmth; to the pretty pink flowers of my Norfolk Island hibiscus and to the pretty petunias I’ve just planted.