Paradise gardens

Gardens are more than just places of beauty. They can and should also be place of contemplation of nature, meaning in life and of our relationship with God. This is a tall order, but it was evidently what the creators of the water gardens in Cordoba had in mind when they designed and built the gardens in these pictures.

Water and gardens has a special place in the ideology of Muslim Spain. The garden is associated with paradise, as in Christian ideas, but Muslims tend to add in more about water, probably because believers were often from arid places where water is more clearly something that need to be actively included. In places like Virginia, we give our gardens water, but can rely on rain for much of the sustenance. In arid places, if you do not bring the water, not water will be there, at least not enough.

Providing enough water for these Cordoba gardens was a significant engineering feat in itself.

The sound of running water is a big part of the enjoyment. You cannot hear that in the pictures, so imagine it. We got there near the end of day. This was good because there were fewer people, but the woman at the ticket desk warned us that we had only a little more than a half hour to enjoy the gardens. It would have been nicer to stay a long time, but we saw the whole thing in that time. Funny, I was joking about what to they do to get you to leave. Well, they make an announcement and then turn off the water.

My pictures show the Cordoba royal gardens. I have included one of Chrissy’s beer pictures from the day, another way to contemplate the meaning of life. I noticed along the garden lots of the plants they call Maria sem vergonia in Brazil. Vera Do Val Galante told me what those were. They grew profusely in Brasilia.

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