Healing in the Garden

Dr. Oliver Sacks

I recently had the opportunity to rewatch a video featuring Dr. Oliver Sacks, who practiced medicine in NYC across from the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG).
In the video, Sacks reflected on the garden and what it meant to him. I've cobbled together a few of his inspiring thoughts. Here's what he said:
"I think of this garden as a treasure. First, it's a haven. In a noisy, crowded New York, we need a haven; we wander around, and time doesn't matter too much.
When I worked at the hospital opposite the garden, I used to come in every day. Specifically, I would come in after seeing my patients but before writing up my notes. And, I would walk around the garden and put everything out of consciousness except the plants and the air.
But, by the time I got back, the patient's story would have crystallized in my mind [and then] I could then write it straight away. But I needed this sort of incubation in the garden, and to go for a walk in the garden; that sort of thing is an essential thing for me in writing.
I think nature has a healing effect; the garden the closest one can come to nature.
The garden has affected me and does affect me in various ways; it's not just the pleasure of walking around but [also] the very special virtues of the library and the museum and the fact that, in some ways, this is a university as well as a garden.
I just feel very comfortable in the garden, and whenever people come to New York from out of town or out of the country, I say let's go to the garden. I would like to quote a couple of lines from a TS Eliot poem:
 
 "Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?'
Let us go and make our visit."


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Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Brooklyn Botanical Garden

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