Welcome to
Transactions with Beauty.
Thanks for being here.
I hope that this is a space that inspires you to add something beautiful to the world. I truly believe that 
you are required to make something beautiful.

– Shawna



Visiting the Aga Khan Garden in Winter

Visiting the Aga Khan Garden in Winter

I’ve been wanting to visit the Aga Khan Garden which is part of the University of Alberta Botanic Garden ever since it opened and I read the Paula Simons article about it in the Journal. It was going to be part of our summer stay-cation, but this or that happened, and we just never fit it in. I’m sort of glad about it now, because we went on Saturday morning in the falling snow and it was so incredibly uplifting and magical.

Paula Simons quotes Rumi (I mean, hey, she had me at Rumi…):

“And don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous.”

So, yes I know it’s not technically winter, but for me, when there’s snow, it’s winter. And if next week it melts, we can then call it autumn. Either way, this is a wonderful time of year to visit this garden.

Below you will find many photos, in more or less the same order they were taken. I hope you can meander through them contemplatively and feel the same delight we did. As Paula says in her article, the unstated mandate is that “no person leave unchanged,” and I can truly say I felt something turn in me. I felt happy while I was there, without effort.

So what follows is some poetry and photos, and at the end if you want to see more, there’s a video from the UA Botanical Gardens site which tells you more about what you’re seeing. All quotations to follow are by Rumi.


“Be like the wing on the way to the party
that can lift yourself and others.”


“Things are such, that someone lifting a cup,
or watching the rain, petting a dog,

or singing, just singing – could be doing as
much for the universe as anyone.”


“A voice that calms, movements that calm,
eyes that quiet – dreams that also do the
same, and enliven too…

Be a precious donor of peace and hope,
Give love to all you meet,

for so many in this world are being torn


“Go toward kindness.
If you are not sure where that is,
you will be drawn in by fakes.”


“The world is new and you
have been chosen to say this poem,
because you are the one with the love bites on you.

Your love has brought us to this silence,
where the only obligation
is to walk slowly through a meadow
and look.”


“Look how an orchard can appear so beautiful, even
knowing a frost may soon come to destroy its blossoms.”


“Light again, and the one who brings light!
Change the way you live!”


“Walk out as a lion, as a rose.
inhale autumn, long for spring.”


“Leaf sounds talk together like poets
making fresh metaphors. The green felt cover slips
and we get a flash of the mirror underneath.”


“We are a warm spell
that comes in a relentless winter.

We are the sun with all the different
kinds of light….”


“Humble living does not diminish. It fills.
Going back to a simpler self gives wisdom.”


And we end where we started.

“You that give new life to this planet,
you that transcend logic, come. I am only
an arrow. Fill your bow with me and let fly.

Because of this love for you
my bowl has fallen from the roof.
Put down a ladder and collect the pieces, please.”


“He gave me a bowl.
And I saw:
the soul has this shape.”


One last note: This week marks the second year anniversary of Transactions with Beauty. Of course I blogged for years before that at Calm Things, but this still feels like a thing. If you’ve never hit the support button before (and supreme thanks to those of you who already have), and you’ve enjoyed reading the blog these past two years as much, say, as you would have enjoyed reading a book, and if you’re able to, and etc, perhaps you might think about doing so. :) No pressure and all that and with thanks for reading and for being here, which means a lot to me.

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