Tuesday, January 5, 2010

California dreamin'

Why bamboos? Well I took this picture in July, but it looks almost exactly the same in late December so I can pretend it's one I downloaded (I haven't downloaded my current pix yet...) but I am ready to blog about lotusland...yes, the whole friggin' state of California, not just Ms Walska's gem in Santa Barbara...I could have downloaded one of a dozen pix of Yucca or Nolina in glorious bloom at the Huntington (where these bamboo are and were), only now the place is blazing in orange, scarlet and yellow aloes.
I feared midwinter would be rainy and chilly here. It's been sublime: most days in the sixties and downright toasty in the sun. Pelargoniums blazing and more flowers than you can shake a stick at. Everyone back at home is grumbling about the cold, and I'm thanking my lucky stars again that I took a much needed vacation with family and friends in paradise.
I'm in the cottage at Quarryhill where Bill MacNamara and Joanna Guy Welti have so graciously let me and Jan stay. Alas! Only three nights: there is so much to do hereabouts I could easily settle in for a month or two...
Quarryhill is an expansive recreation of East Asia, a grandiose and magnificently realized vision of Jane Jansen, a remarkable woman I feel extremely fortunate to have met almost a decade ago. I've been here one time at least since then, and am delighted to watch the progress here: there is something incredibly gratifying about watching a huge collection of Chinese plants in this context: it's really quite outrageous. Of course, the climate isn't quite right (they have to water a lot in the summer) and the notion is really quite outrageous (plant thousands of Chinese plants in Sonoma)...but art is not about doing the obvious and the hum drum. The great native plant gardens in California are all fantastic and appropriate and artistic in their own outrageous ways, but poetry (as Marianne Moore observed) is having real frogs in imaginary gardens...and it could be said having imaginary gardens in a real setting like this is poetic as well.
By the way, I do not agree with her when she says she "too dislike(s) it". That's rankled like crazy. I hate most modern poetry (and visual arts too, by the way): so much contemporary and modern art let's face it is just crap. But Keats and Lorca and Cavafy are the very stuff of life. If you diss that you might as well just buy season tickets to the Baseball game. Harrrummph.
I would love to show you the picture of the ersatz snowmen in a bed of gloriously blooming Iceland poppies (warmed the cockle of my heart, that did). Or the fabulous way the folded hills in the distance fuzz with mist in the late afternoon diffusion of golden sun (so Californian!). Or the verdancy of grass and weeds in the Eucalyptus and oak savanna that is Stanford Campus. Or my brothers Fuyu Persimmon tree, loaded with translucent orange orbs that positively glow in the backlight. Or any one of ten thousand vignettes that have feasted my eyes these last few weeks. But I shall have to download them first! I think there may be winter enough for me to get around to it...alas.
Jan really really wants to live here. And a piece of me agrees.

1 comment:

  1. It will be great to watch Well, i have bought tickets from
    http://ticketfront.com/event/Well-tickets looking forward to it.


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