Borrowed landscape


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.


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