The Daily Muse

Thoughts from an Austin Garden  -- July 2010

 

Last update -  July 15

 

A scene from Innisfree Garden in Millbrook, New York

 

July 5 - morning

 

Too long, I know. Soul of the Garden has been around for over ten years, and I have never been so negligent. Busy, yes, aren't we all so busy? Isn't that our mantra? Our security blanket in insecure times... all so busy... doing what? Frankly, I feel as if I have been just treading water.

 

I think the truth is that I have needed some time to reorient myself after moving last year. Psychic reorientation. Soul reorientation. On second thought, maybe reclamation is a better word... in many ways I have reclaimed a life that I had made for myself years ago. I am fitter - exercising more routinely and strenuously, cooking again and enjoying it - savoring the simple healthy meals I prepare, traveling more, reading more, and frankly wanting less. Less stuff anyway, and less baggage - the weight and gnawing tension that comes from going through the motions without - what? Reciprocity? Passion? Commitment? Depth?

 

Yesterday, I was organizing photographs for my on-going book project and spent a lot of time at this desk looking out onto the courtyard that I planted and designed twenty-three years ago. Some things have thrived, many have died - a few plants have gone wild and have invaded neighboring yards, others have been butchered by "groundskeepers" during my time away. Large swaths of the garden are so infested with Japanese honeysuckle, privet, hackberry and other invaders that I would have to resort to a scorched earth policy to reclaim the turf. As I plied though my enormous collection of images, I came upon hundreds of pictures of this garden as it was - filled with color, plants in bounds, a pleasing rhythm of textures and forms. It would take months of intensive labor just to clean the place up. I am not sure I am up for that kind of commitment and depth at this moment. I know I have at least one more garden left in me - but maybe not this one.

 

That is not to say this garden is without its pleasures. I have hung a bird feeder just outside of my office window and it is routinely mobbed by finches, chickadees, titmice, and cardinals. Yesterday I looked up and was surprised to see a woodpecker hanging upside down from the feeder. Clutching the cage of the feeder with its wiry feet, it would crane its smooth muscular neck and head up and flick out its amazingly long tongue to reach for the sunflower seeds. Quite a sight. And just a moment ago, the cutest of this year's kittens (from our not to be caught court yard cat) peeked into the window and said good morning. I am glad that my boys didn't see him or yowling would have ensued.

 

Pleasures indeed - I have much to be grateful for. Hope the same is true for you.

 

OK - that is enough reclamation for this morning. Take some time to think of some beautiful thing that popped into your window today...

Your secret from Jean-Sebastien Monzani on Vimeo.

Here are a few more Images of Innisfree Garden from my NY trip in May...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 7 - morning

 

A little food for thought...

 

Meet Your Farmer - Chase Farm from Pull-Start Pictures on Vimeo.

July 13 - morning

Happy accidents - gardening is full of them. Yesterday morning the Choctaw crepe myrtle that I planted earlier in the year bloomed for the first time and guess what? It isn't a Choctaw. Instead, I believe I have a Biloxi. I purchased the plant very early in the spring when the selection wasn't that great and I settled for the Choctaw because it grew to the size I wanted even though I was not crazy about the color or the bark (it has slightly cinnamon color to the bark.) The Biloxi has a much more unusual flower color (which matches the Marie Pavie rose I have in a pot), a richer color to the bark, and a more pleasing form - vase-like as opposed to rounded. Yaaah for mislabeled plants!

Biloxi Crape Myrtle

July 15 - morning

An interesting (and damning) yet perky little critique of our culture of "massive consumption."

Lily Allen "The Fear." mk II from phil tidy on Vimeo.

I want to be rich and I want lots of money
I don’t care about clever I don’t care about funny
I want loads of clothes and f* loads of diamonds
I heard people die while they are trying to find them

And i’ll take my clothes off and it will be shameless
Cause everyone knows that’s how you get famous
I’ll look at the sun and I’ll look in the mirror
I’m on the right track yeah I’m on to a winner

[Chorus]
I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore
I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore
When do you think it will all become clear?
‘Cause I’m being taken over by the fear

Life’s about film stars and less about mothers
It’s all about fast cars and cussing each other
But it doesn’t matter cause I’m packing plastic
and that’s what makes my life so f*ing fantastic

And I am a weapon of massive consumption
And its not my fault it’s how I’m programmed to function
I’ll look at the sun and I’ll look in the mirror
I’m on the right track yeah we're on to a winner

Chorus
I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore
I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore
When do you think it will all become clear?
‘Cause I’m being taken over by the fear

[Bridge]
Forget about guns and forget ammunition
Cause I’m killing them all on my own little mission
Now I’m not a saint but I’m not a sinner
Now everything's cool as long as I’m gettin thinner

[Chorus]
I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore
I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore
When do you think it will all become clear?
‘Cause I’m being taken over by fear

 

 

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