Tuesday, January 20, 2004


Looking through the mail on the table tonight, I noticed a few photographs that had been included in a letter. What a pretty garden, I said. Partner quickly pointed out that the pictures were of our garden.

And they were, taken by a visiting relative from this past summer.

I am bad about documenting my gardens with photographs. The first couple of photos were from angles that I don't usually see when I am out in the garden. With quick study, it all looked quite familiar, and yet ... The grass around the beds was green, the sweetgum looked positively loaded with green leaves. The perennials were blooming, each in their own form and hue.

And yet ... I could not help but notice what was not blooming, or what had already by that time come and gone. Taking a picture of a garden, of my garden, is like taking a picture of a choir singing. The photo creates a reference, but it doesn't even begin to capture the essence, the line of music that flowed out from beginning to end.

And yet ... the garden now is dormant, there are no leaves, no green, no bloom. How fanciful and boastful the summer garden looked where now one sees only relics of that glory, dried organic matter left after the violence of hard winter airs. The ground is frozen hard, and with dry stalks and empty beds I imagine what it will again become. But even in my richest mental projection, I do not think of such lushness as I feel in looking at these photographs.

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