beauty and terror

I just ordered seeds for this summer’s garden. And then it snowed. You recognize that pattern, right? You do something because you’re looking forward to that future wonderfulness. And then the tide keeps coming in, in the direction it’s been coming. Not turning yet.

And just thinking of gardens and gardening, I went into the dreamscape offered by Sophie Walker’s book on Japanese gardens. Those places that are so soothing. That, even some photo in a book is enough to fill you with such peace.

Therefore I was surprised to read:

In Japan, beauty and terror are inextricably linked. Japan’s beautiful landscape provokes constant anxiety: angry active volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis and cyclones all threaten… Nature is beguiling and threatening, beautiful and horrific.

I had never thought about the context in which the Japanese gardens had been created. That the profound stillness that can be felt in the energy of those landscapes stands in stark contrast to the wildly unpredictable larger setting in which they’re situated. Those long-lived gardens have endured centuries of tumultuous natural occurrences.

In a completely personal way, I see that as a metaphor for me and my art. I watch my mind move all over the map, full of ups and downs – that “tumultuous” mind is the environment for the art I create. This art that takes a lot of time. Slow. Rather meditative. A counterpoint.

Yes. Looking for the counterpoint. Time and again.

In garden seeds.

In art.