Looking Back

Looking Back

Green Eyed Dragon was a twelve foot high garden ornament I built over the pond.
Green Eyed Dragon

Here is an old photo of the Green Eyed Dragon. I built this long before Game of Thrones. I wanted a centerpiece for the Veggie Garden, which was six raised beds, each one in the shape of trapezoids, 12x4x2, a foot high, radiating out from the center, like flower petals. Somehow, I was inspired to build this funky tower, 4×4 base, 2×2 top, twelve feet high, where each side mirrored a 2x12x4 trapezoid garden bed. And then, for fun, we drove the truck next to this tower, climbed up a pretty tall ladder, (yes, this was precarious) and added a wire tomato support topped with a green glass ball. It became known as the Green Eyed Dragon, Protector of the Garden.

As I worked in that garden and played with my dog, I set markers on the ball shadow when the Church bells chimed. Over time, a long time — more than a year– a pattern emerged. Rocks, pots, shells and odd items littering the yard showed a pattern revealing long shadows in winter and short shadows of summer. Here was the movement of the sun. There was the vernal equinox. It was so cool. I could tell people the time of day by looking at where the green shadow fell.

Truly, in small movements, over a long time frame, this garden showed itself to be a great clock. Steven King, in his memoir, On Writing, says he is an archeologist, brushing away dirt to reveal something in the earth. And when he gets it out in the open, he stands back and asks himself what it is. I really felt that way when I saw my garden was designed as a great clock.

After my Dad died, I felt inspired to make a sun clock on the front of our beach cottage. I screwed a sail baton to the peak, set the alarm on my iPhone, and made marks on the hour. Over time, a pattern emerged. It is not symmetrical, because the cottage is not perfectly set to the South. I like the way it skews. Once the pattern was established, I hung gold seashells bought at Grainger Pottery in Marion. It looks like a bracelet my Mother wore. It is a memorial to them both. And I can tell the time within ten minutes.

Gold Ceramic Shells arranged to make a sundial on the south face of a beach house
Beach House Sundial

What is that space where we traffic in inspiration? It is a Hot Mess. I get compliments on my garden these days. But many times, I invited people who gave me the blank stare, indicating they really wondered what I was seeing. When I look at old photos, I can understand. I remember looking at the scene below, feeling I was seeing Persephone so brave and calm in the grandeur of the Underworld, where she could take you by the hand, and let you feel safe as you opened your eyes to what was happening in the shadows.

Dad dubbed this stump The Milking Stool. In theory, it pulled good energy from the universe into this spot. I took me a year and some heavy equipment to get the stump here. Sadly it was crushed by snow and ice. Anyway, I felt the energy of the universe in this garden, so what I saw was very different than what shows up in an old photograph.

This photo is a blend of intoxicating beauty with Persephone, autumn color and green weeds
Autumn hot mess

By the way, the reason this post is apropos is because MM (My Master) wants me to build something over the Fish Pond, and I am stumped. I am open to the universe, asking, seeking. My eyes are open for ideas and materials. This is how inspiration works.


Barbie Burr

Barbie Darwin Burr was born in La Jolla, California into a Navy family. Moving every year made gardening difficult, but not impossible for her father, a disciple of Scott and Helen Nearing and a man with a vast ability to imagine and create.

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