Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Hand Of Man

On Friday's tour through Hodges Gardens (see previous post), drinking in endless vistas of man made beauty embellishing rough terrain, I was suddenly struck by an unusual sight on the side of the road.  I backed the RV up to take this photo.  For amidst the endless array of boulders, pine trees and pine straw bedding on an otherwise colorless hill, I saw an old gnarled stump sprouting a red camelia.

At first I couldn't figure how a camelia flower could be growing out of a stump. Camelias grow on bushes. I backed up the van for a closer look and realized that some hiker must have picked a camelia from the gardens somewhere on the other side of the hill, and thoughtfully placed it there.  An intentional statement?  Another striking instance of the hand of man embellishing nature, juxtaposing opposites?

I don't know why it struck such a cord with me, as much or more impressive as all the gardens and fountains Hodges created.  So stark.  So simple.  So unexpected and ephemeral, like sand art that is laid down for a day then blown away by the wind. The hand of man spontaneously beautifying nature.  How incredibly artful for some casual visitor to place that single flower there, aware that it would soon be gone. Did they hope someone else would notice, or was it just to please themselves.  Did they take a photo?  I was utterly entranced.

I determined to return the next day, find the camelia bush, and retrace the steps of this ephemeral artist.

Spire, with a 360 view
of all the gardens below.
Saturday John, Christina and I toured the gardens.  We climbed to the spire, spotted the camelia gardens in the valley below and made our way there where I found the very bush this flower came from, amidst a hundred other bushes of different varieties.  There were thousands of blooms on towering bushes and spent flowers on the ground in such profusion they didn't look special at all by comparison to the one in the stump.

We crossed over the hill and searched for the stump.  John found it.  As I suspected, the flower was no longer there.  The canvas was mine!  I decided then and there to go back and rescue a few more blooms, try and make an art statement of my own. I carefully chose two different flowers from 2 different bushes, on the ground but in fairly good condition.

Mine were pink and two very different shapes.

I made Christina and Shadow pose with me for one shot showing the background road and lake. I think she and John thought I was being quite silly, but they indulged me without complaint.  I wish I had picked up a 3rd flower from a white camellia bush, and put 3. 

I had forgotten, flower arranging is always done in odd numbers.

Turned out, the single red camellia carried the most potent message.

This was one of the most memorable parts of my trip, tapping into my artistic side, and I will never know if anyone else stopped to ponder that there were flowers in that stump?  Take a picture of my arrangement?  Next day when we passed by on our way out, only 1 flower remained.  It looked great!  Has anyone else, on other weekends, ever placed flowers there?  How many arrangements has that old stump displayed?
Upwards and onward,

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