方禮倫:The Beauty In Nature’s Imperfections 自然美學

A+A-
圖片來源:路透社

A different sunshine streams through the window. Its gentle caress warms the body and lifts the spirit.(註 1)

Gone now is the silence of winter. Bird song fills the air.

From within the trees and hedges, robins, finches and tits sing to their mates. Nests which only a few weeks prior lay silently dormant now echo with the sounds of life.(註 2)

And high above the house, between the chimney stacks, ravens come and go to the call of hungry little mouths.

It is said ravens mate for life. In spring, nature confirms its love and commitment.

I pull on my favourite green wellington boots, lift the latch of the back door and head outside. Spring is the time to return to the garden.(註 3)

There is much to do. As life returns, lawns need to be mowed, undergrowth cleared and weeds pulled. Hedges are trimmed. The earth is still soft from the rains.

As I move around the garden I am followed by robins singing a challenge. ‘This was my territory long before you arrived,’ they seem to say to me, displaying their bright red breasts with pride. If so, they would not be wrong. And I thank them for sharing with me this little slice of earth.

Last summer, whilst clearing behind the garage the overgrowth of many years, I discovered a small green house. Over several weeks a path to it was cleared. It was, and still is in a sorry state. The floor had collapsed, and a few planes of glass are missing. This will be one of my projects for the coming week.

This greenhouse will be a present to my wife. It will be her sanctuary, a place to grow the seeds we collected last year — chilli and bell peppers, plum and cherry tomatoes, cucumber and courgettes, and basil and coriander. She has planted some of these seeds already, in old egg cartons which are perfect for seedlings. But the kitchen window is getting rather full, and they deserve their own home.

Last year I also managed to salvage some timber from a nearby construction site. I intend to construct raised beds. Find new uses to what would otherwise be thrown away is particularly satisfying.(註 4)

Constructing raised beds is easy. Deciding where best to place them less so. Yet if we’re to get much use of them this year a decision will shortly have to be made. So as I trundle up and down the garden I keep half a mind on this. Where might they go? I wonder.

Gardening has, for me, been one of the real joys of my life in England. It is both a personal activity and a communal one. Everyone here seems to enjoy gardening. Along side caring for dogs, nothing better encapsulates the English psyche.

Even on cold and wet days, the body soon warms to working outdoors. To mould our very own slice of nature is deeply satisfying. It is about our most important relationship — a gardener does not create, but rather works with nature. In its imperfections we find surprise, wonder and, ultimately, beauty.(註 5)

A new year feels underway.

陶傑點評

雖然有人說香港多一點人離開,可促進大陸改組人口兼換血;也有人說,有 BNO 早走早著。然而當真的有人考慮移民時,又有人很慌張,好像阿媽勸仔一樣:去了英國,吃不飽、穿不暖,20 年後你會後悔。

雖然英國有較高端的精神生活,但由遠東口腔期的小農角度來看:英國雖然有豐富的歷史,但古堡不可以當飯吃;不過董建華家族帶頭投資的倫敦物業,磚頭一定升值。

在中國人習慣計算的食物和金錢利潤之後,確實另有一個層次,叫做精神價值觀。在這個層面,我同意,若一生不曾接觸這條線,會覺得英國生活很沉悶。

不過,英國作家勞倫斯(D. H. Lawrence)說:「我們的時代有太多的意識。我們知道得太多,但感覺得太少。」(Ours is an excessively conscious age. We know so much, we feel so little.)

適應英國和西方文明國家的生活,在感受的層次,方禮倫今日另有新體驗。

1.

  • 每一天的陽光,感覺都是不同的。作者覺得今日的陽光輕撫著身體,有提升精神之效。Stream 一字作動詞用,形象上有如流水。

2.

  • 這天透進來的陽光,因為四周的鳥鳴而賦予了新的意義。人人皆知小鳥叫做 Birds,但作者分類:Robins(知更鳥),還有一般的雀鳥(Finches),以及啁啾有聲的叫 Tits,正對牠們的朋友唱歌。
  • 煙囪之間還有幾隻烏鴉,為自己的子女覓食。連鳥類也有隱約善惡的對比。畫面中也添了幾筆黑色。

3.

  • 只成為大自然的旁觀者不夠,作者決定參與。穿上靴子、打開後花園的木門,剪除野草、修剪樹籬,迎來一場細雨。此時耳邊響起知更鳥的叫聲,仿佛說:在你搬來之前,這裡早已是我的領地了。在這一刻,作者悟出天地萬物生命可貴的均等意義。

4.

  • 然後有新發現,在不遠處有一間很小的溫室。當時狀態敗陋,地板失修。作者見到大喜,認為是命運的禮物。拿起工具重修一次,然後在溫室裡種植辣椒、櫻桃、蕃茄。兩夫妻一齊動手,將溫室變成一片殖民地。

5.

  • 在平靜的生活中,作者悟出了園丁生活的意義。在自然的鬼斧神工之下,一名園藝家並非創造者,而是與大自然一起工作。許多時候有種種缺憾,但在修繕的工作之間,作者發現的不完美之處,正是大美所在。

在外國生活,可以發現香港沒有的美學。

陶傑英文遊花園

香港和台灣,面臨世紀的變局。海外華人居住西方國家,也數目龐大。如何提升英文程度,克服文化隔閡,加強英文能力,在亂世中至關重要。

許多華人都有合理的職業或專業的英文程度,但如何在原有的中學文法訓練基礎之上,探討高層次的英語文化和表達方式,以備融入英語世界主流社會?

本欄介紹評析欣賞英文的寫作細節,分享經驗,歡迎提出不同的評析角度和心得。

※ 此欄文章為作者觀點,不代表本網立場。 ※

方禮倫(Evan Fowler ) ,本地出生成長、中英交界的香港人,在劍橋和倫敦大學政經學院畢業。現居英國。 英文怎樣能表達得更好?香港的英文教育,著重文法正確、詞彙廣泛。但除了這兩樣,說好的英文、寫好的英文,還要有某種英語的理性與感性思維。 好的英文必清晰、婉約而有教養,與中文寫作文化略有不同。有時借用英文的文化特色,用於中文,可以別具一格。但若有一日移居英語國家,與以英語為母語的當地人溝通,融入主流社會,摸通英文表達藝術的深層結構,會很有用。 方禮倫的英文筆觸細膩,每週五他會以英文與我們見一次面,講述香港和海外華人關心的事情。除了獨特的觀點,其文筆可供英文寫作學習參考。