I wandered around winding rocky pathways in Eden Garden today with a friend. The garden was hewn out of an old quarry and has been developed over the years by faithful gardeners and volunteers. Dotted amongst the trees are plaques and benches commemorating those who have passed on.

I used to visit this garden frequently when I was living in Mt Eden and writing the chapter on Sanctuary for my book A Cup of Sunlight, about discovering the sacred in everyday life.

I was so happy to revisit, for I emerged feeling peaceful and soothed, just as I did in past years.

What is it about this place?

The refuge of shade after the heat and bustle of a warm spring day and driving through traffic?

The cool colour tones, and the way the plants have been allowed to flow freely over slopes and hollows?

Is it the atmosphere created by constant tending, and the tender touch of hands that lay down flower bunches from time to time beside the bronze plaques? 

Is it the love that pervades every nook and cranny, every tree top and tiny plant?