As I near the end of my stay here at Parkwood, I think about things that have helped me recover. One thing that was really important were the people who supported me. The other thing was nature, the outdoors and the fresh air.
It doesn't have to be wild nature. As my cousin said on one visit out in the gardens here, "It's just so GREEN!" For me it's the trees, the huge ornamental grasses, the breeze in the leaves, the birds, the pathways that let me get out and enjoy it. There's lots of shade and lots of sun.
Parkwood is unusual in this respect. Originally built at the edge of the city, it retains a lot of open space around it - there are no city buildings in sight to the south or east at all. But above all are the gardens, several acres of pathways, trees and resting spots, ideal for visiting. They have made good use of ornamental grasses, there are two water features, the frog pond and a small fountain, and there are seven raised beds of flowers and veggies.
This morning, like so many others, it was beautiful. I was out early, and the sun was shining bright green through the leaves. And along came a pair of Monarch butterflies, their wings brilliant orange in the sun. Out again later I saw two Monarchs again, these ones by the frog pond. The flock of House Sparrows is still here, lots of Blue Jays are calling, and now there are other birds, apparently heading south.
The chance to get out in this magical place every day has come to mean a great deal to me, and I know the gardens have been great therapy for me. I'm a firm believer in the healing power of nature.