Borrowed landscape

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This magnificent jacaranda tree is in our neighbour’s yard, but it overshadows ours, just as its roots must underlie the gardens of the neighbours further south and west. After a couple of weeks of taking photos of my garden, I realised that I had been treating it as off-limits. Unconsciously, I thought that I’d be cheating on the terms of the project if I included it.

And yet presence does not stay inside fences. Nor do sight and smell and sound. The jacaranda is a crucial part of this garden. And so are the elements — sun, air, wind and rain — which make and mix the planet’s atmosphere; so too are the transient weeds and cats and caterpillars. The garden does not coincide with the fence line.

I do not need to ‘borrow’ landscape from next door or further afield. It is always given. My only choice is whether to acknowledge it. And when I did so, it was more than an unconscious weight off my mind. It came with a change in the sense of space and the experience of body. I was more relaxed and appreciative; I could see further and higher.

Andrew

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