Friday, November 07, 2008
The sun broke through the roof of cloud near sunset, striking the tops of the trees with a brilliant red light. A transient phenomenon, an opportunity to grab the camera and take a few photos.
But it can be more; it can evoke the narrative of the garden. This is a story about the past - ghosts, memories, of native people, adventurers, settlers - and about physical process and geological time. About what to value - what was here, and what is here now.
Red was a holy color to the Lenni Lenape, who hunted and fished these hills; it was also a color worn for war. Eighteenth century settlers would have seen this sunset as a sign of their god's presence. Would each have looked on it with awe, fear, a sense of beauty?
So how does this story inform a garden? If I could afford it, I'd erect stone monuments throughout. Different styles, different sizes and shapes, almost like a cemetery. Not depressing at all, at least not to me; the cemetery was my first experience of a "gardened" landscape.
My new garden may be unsettling to some, may make them uncomfortable, may make them wonder what's wrong. But I hope it will be a journey into the nature of this place.