The beauty of the garden was a torture because I could not find the words in which to describe it… I would be seized by a breathless sensation for a moment or two when something real – that is to say some definable vision – would seem to be there, but the moment passed; I would fall into the dreamer’s exhaustion and ennui and a feeling of meaninglessness.
~ V.S. Pritchett, A Cab at the Door
It’s said that newborns and victims of stroke are sometimes unable to distinguish between objects. The tree, the grass, the fence and the walker melt into a single entity or atomize to a multitude. A syntax of the eyes needs to be learned. Moments of aesthetic perception can leave us similarly disoriented. Until words come as palliatives for the pain of beauty, we stagger like Adam in Eden before he named the other creatures: “The beauty of the garden was a torture because I could not find the words in which to describe it.”