During autumn 2023, I visited a special place. A place where the Natural world tells a story of a remarkable past still alive in the present. A part of this story brought me to further know why my love and curiosity for Nature is endless. The other part of this story kept me in awe of the omnipresence and virtue of The Most High. This isn’t all of the story. There is more to unearth, more to adore and more to be in awe of. At the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, on the grounds and in the gardens, I found a greater meaning for our lives and deeper purpose for our lands.
Though my adoration for Nature began while young my inquisitiveness about the Natural world started later in life. I find treasure after treasure when I am outdoors in Nature. Sometimes, during my exploratory journeys, other times, when I am simply present, in the moment, passing through various terrains. I usually discover either an organic and/or inorganic piece of earth or subject of life. These marvelous gifts of Life and of our Earth are amazingly glorious, so much so I seem to travel in and out of time while witnessing them. In Asheville, North Carolina, on the grounds and in the gardens of the Biltmore House, I found on both foot and while driving Nature’s treasures to be in abundance.
The Divine in deed has had a hand in and on every treasure I’ve been blessed to witness. These treasures are intangible and tangible creations. There are those I can touch with my own hands and some I can only capture as a splendid image and memory. There are those that have been touched by others’ hands, formed and shaped, and those that couldn’t be physically touched, but could be shared as a memory for collective enjoyment. These treasures, gifts, are those that give to us the spiritual and picturesque beauty that makes and decorates our lives and our lands.
Several seasons past together with this present season, a deeper meaning of my life and greater purpose of the lands that have and still welcome me, have revealed and reflected the motions, the movement, the playfulness and creativity of my own kin. In the gardens and on the grounds of the Biltmore House I took in the creativity of the motions and movements of the Divine and of my relative’s human hands, namely, Frederick Law Olmsted. I as well took part in the playfulness that led him to make the ordinary— out of the ordinary.
The story doesn’t actually begin or end in Asheville, North Carolina. Prior and subsequent to my visit to Asheville, North Carolina, the Biltmore Estate, I continually visited my grandparents’ home, the Russell – Olmsted House, in Manchester, Connecticut, where my dad was raised. When I visit the house where my dad grew up, I see a familiar dance of Nature on the grounds and playfulness in the garden as seen at the Biltmore Estate. Observing the extraordinary details of the natural. creations that currently exist in both places, being reminded of my own lighthearted childhood when at my grandparents’ home, living in the moment, pausing, breathing, witnessing, moving, dancing and gathering to build on to my own individual and the collective memory of my loved ones and our friends, continually brings me to a special place within myself and within life. Perhaps, the flow of life, its vitality, its movement, that makes for the dance and awe-inspiring ornamental elements of Nature, is too what lets us be like a youthful child in love and curious, for some of us, again and again and again… BIG SMILE.
Dana Rondel Olmsted, relative of Frederick Law Olmsted, is a full-time inspirational writer, speaker, author and life-style influencer. More about her can be found at: danarondel.com