Thursday, July 12, 2007

Is it Real?

Have you ever watched a blue heron fishing? There it is standing stock still readying itself to snap up an unsuspecting fish? For an age you and it wait, but nothing happens. You start to doubt, Is it real? It doesn't move, then gradually there is the dawning realization that it isn't real, it's plastic!

Plastic flowers too can be so real seeming, it's hard distinguish them from the real thing. While in the Temple in The Netherlands a few of us gathered for a meeting beside the fish pond where a blooming Water Lilly sat amidst glistening leaves. I kidded the guests, It's not real you know. A shadow of a doubt was sewn, successfully but not for long! Just what is it about coming upon the man-made in nature that is both strangely attractive and deeply disturbing at the same time?

In the photo above all is well with the world, nature is going about it's business of blooming and leafing. But what is that rising above the bushes? A head. A real head, or what? In actual fact it's the Angel of the North standing beside the A1 greeting visitors with wings outstretched. Art placed in natural surroundings, especially sculpture on any scale, finds me examining my conceptions of...well gardening actually!

I think the disturbance is about the truth of impermanence. Creating successful gardens is, it seems to me, about working with impermanence with a light and playful hand. And I hope gardeners will continue to place sculptures within their creations. Yes, and I hope to see the occasional plastic pink flamingo or pixie in their shrubberies to disturb us even more!

It's good to have our realities challenged.