To paint a heart

SARK describes arriving in San Francisco for the first time and recognizing home: “It was like someone took a picture of my heart and painted a city around it.”

I love that idea and image.

If someone painted a city around your heart, what city would it be?

In my case, it wouldn’t be a city. I’m not an urban person, though I love periodic visits to cities for brief infusions of colour, culture,¬†camaraderie.

SARK’s description resonates so deeply with me because that’s how I felt when I saw a photo of this garden in West Cork, Ireland, for the first time: Piet Oudolf took a picture of my heart and made a garden around it.

photo of garden designed by Piet Oudolf

Photo copyright Piet Oudolf

Complexity, texture, subtle colouring, the fusion of nature and art. I think this is what I’m trying to do with the garden I’m making: paint a picture of my heart. My body is the paintbrush, the earth my canvas, the plants my paint. I don’t see the finished painting in my mind, but I trust the process. I go to the garden with my spade. I dig, pull out stones and roots, add compost. Plant, water,¬†weed. Uproot, rearrange. Water. Weed.

I don’t work alone, even though I’m the only person present. I dance with an unseen partner.

Slowly, the garden emerges and surprises me.

3 Responses to “To paint a heart”

  1. commatologist commatologist

    I think for me the garden above might expand into a whole country. Ireland really calls me, for reasons I don’t yet know. I have an Irish ancestor, and I’d love to find out where exactly he came from and who his mother was. Maybe then I’ll understand the pull.

  2. Avatar Louise Gallagher

    What a brilliant connection Leslie! I love how my words brought me here to your garden landscape cascading all over the page (screen).

    Thank you for this — and your words are so beautiful. They are ringing in my heart.



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