Wednesday, May 30, 2012

tranquil roots

"White. A blank page or canvas. 
The challenge: bring order to the whole.
Through design.  Composition.  Tension.  Balance.  Light.  And harmony."

Thus does Georges Seurat introduce us to the artist's life in Sunday in the Park with George.

Yesterday the gardener did just that with my pocket park. 

Even though it is my refuge of tranquility, it had become what every untended garden becomes.  Tangled.  Overgrown.  A jungle.  In other words, natural.

And natural is one thing the artistic mind cannot abide.

Whether painter, sculptor, architect, film maker, or writer, artists want order.  Design.  Composition.  Tension.  Balance.  Light.  Harmony.

And when they find it, they freeze it in amber for us.  For our admiration.  And to believe, for one shiny moment, that life is thus.

My landlady hires two men to tend the garden.  One to hold a hose a couple times a week like a mother providing water to her thirsty children.  The other to show up twice a year to bring a father's disciplinary hand to the unruly brood.

And discipline he did.  Uprooting everything in the beds.  Dividing.  Replanting.  Trimming with the ruthless hand of a visionary who sacrifices the present for a better future.

Of course, both views are an illusion. 

Gardens can no more be tamed than can life.  The trick is to develop a painter's eye for life.  To create order in our minds while enjoying moments as they present themselves to us.

And to share those moments with others.


Nopogayle said...

Hola Steve - I've enjoyed your recent foray into other cultures; I'm glad you have the opportunity to retire young travel as much as you do.  I'm about to retire & spend my first 6 months (give/take) in Mexico & have been looking at Oaxaca, Ajijic, SMA & Melaque.  I'm having a really tough time finding something 'reasonable' (not over $1200/mo) for a 6 month commitment!  I've looked on Tomzap & tried ALL the links.  Q: how did you find your place?  Q: would you recommend I just get there & THEN find a long-term rental?  Thanks in advance for any advice - you can email me backchannel @  Thanks again, Gayle from PDX

Felipe Zapata said...

Mexicans tend to overdo.

Steve Cotton said...

I think you would approve of this guy's work.  He not only cut back, he added fresh plantings.  The garden looks far better now.

Andean said...

I've always contemplated between the tidy, sweet looking garden, and the wild intermingling of vines, flowers, and greens. The former seems to keep the bugs more disciplined, in their own personal little gardens. And the latter, cool, dark and mysterious with specks of colour, shapes, soft moss and the scent of wet soil. I figured out I need, a little of both. And maybe a blank canvas to inspire. Nature's art is never complete.

Steve Cotton said...

 The nice thing about Melaque is you can have a tidy garden today and a jungle tomorrow.  Where nature rails daily against art.

Paty said...

I will never have a "natural" garden as my gardener is a madman with clippers.  Not only does he cut back everything, he cuts too far back sometimes and has killed many plants.  I was especially upset over the gardenia thaat was 3 feet high and full of blossoms.  It's now very short sticks that will never relive.  I have asked his wife to hide his clippers for awhile.  But he found them--what can you do with a 85 year old with Alzheimer's?  

Steve Cotton said...

The answer there is rather simple -- but difficult.  Hire a new gardener.