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

    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. 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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