"This is a soulful journey through a country garden and the surrounding land with its stone walls, its brook, its hemlocks and maples, its flowers and shrubs, and its various living beings. It is a journey through the seasons of a year. Journey is perhaps too active a word, for it implies a distance traveled from here to there. I do not mean that. I mean instead a circling in time, in one place, remembering one year as if it were all years. …

"Control and intimacy are mutually exclusive. Intimacy cannot be commanded or planned. It is not willed, but happens by grace and opens the doors of the heart. It more readily happens when we lay no claim to anything and discover instead what is already present and already given.

"All true intimacies are gifts. They appear as if from behind us, beside us, above us, below us. We usually cannot see them corning. They take our whole attention, and in the process we have a chance to come face-to-face with something we did not know about the world and ourselves.

"To commune, to discover and to be discovered, is deeply human. Real convergences are revelations that lift us out of ourselves, out of recoiling from any aspect of reality. We experience the self then — all possessive pronouns gone — the joy of existence, which is the light within everything, the light that burns for its own sake, declaring, 'I am that I am.'

"The Latin word for 'intimate' is intimus, 'inmost.' If we live in an 'inmost' manner with our surroundings, we can see and know much more about ourselves and the world. We can experience that each being that dwells with us calls it home, too. To remember, to hold, and to venerate the life around us is to honor the holy in the place where we live. It is also a way to celebrate the earth — the first and primary intimacy from which all other intimacies develop.

"I hope as you read that you will think deeply about the place where you live, whether it is in a city, a suburb, a meadow, or a forest. All places contain the sacred. They ask us to participate, to be fully here on earth. The fulcrum of this universe may ultimately be a passionate mutuality in which we surrender any separate definition of ourselves and discover that we are who we are together, in a fundamental relationship and communion with everything that is."