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A Window On My World

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Posts will be published on occasion and irregularly as I am able.
Some of these posts are from my web site The Garden At Crocker Croft.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Illusion of Leisure

Subtitle: Fine art is where you find it.

Fine art is outside my budget, even if the budget is stretched. I do not mind; I see art, much of it fine to my eyes, everywhere I look. In some of my photos, you may have seen a ghostly figure, a frame… the aluminum frame of an outdoor chaise lounge. It is a relic of my youth. There is a story about it.

My parents built their dream house in the middle of a cornfield next to that of my paternal grandparents’. It was approximately forty yards from our back door to theirs.

Every time I see the aluminum frame, in my mind’s eye, I see their charming small rambling white clapboard house in the shade of large trees, and my grandfather, his pretty, white hair blowing in the humid warm southern breeze as he slept during his after-lunch nap on that chaise lounge under the maple trees. He slept on it in a lowered position so that it was flat similar to a cot, and at that time there was a cover with an attached pillow.

So, you see, that is why I cannot get rid of the old chaise lounge. Instead, I have proclaimed it to be my object of minimalist art – a minimalist sculpture.
I have titled it: ‘The Illusion of Leisure’.

For me it is an object to contemplate (why it has that strong emotional pull for me); it communicates in memories of times gone by; it is aesthetically pleasing: its long, tenuously extruded aluminum lines expressing surprising strength. Therefore, 'The Illusion of Leisure' is placed in my garden as one would place sculpture.

It is not unusual for there to be an illusion of leisure throughout gardens. Most gardens offer one or more resting places. The Garden At Crocker Croft is no different, beckoning are several places where one may sit and contemplate the buzzing bee, a sculptural fungus, a nodding flower, or shifting shadows. All the sitting places give the illusion of leisure. Of course, that illusion is a fallacy. You will notice that they are all empty. Still, the potential is there.

The Illusion of Leisure

Front Porch

Marble slab bench

and chair in the distance.

Several chairs scattered about the back yard.

in the shade garden

in E Beds

Green chairs in the deep shade, and
Barbee's cushion on the ground.

Enlarge to see
bench on The Terrace in the distance.

woodland garden

picnic table in woodland garden

The Terrace

stump at Lookout Point

and, a flat stone on a raised bed.


Anonymous said...

Looks like you have a variety of sitting spaces in your garden. I like your "Illusion of Leisure" settee in the garden.

Shibaguyz said...

The Illusion of Leisure and the promise of rest. I would love nothing more today than to wander through that garden exploring each one of those resting spots with a glass of iced tea.

Wonderful post... thank you for sharing...

Annie in Austin said...

What a brilliant post, Barbee with your minimalist sculpture bearing the weight of history and nostalgia while not blocking the view of the flowers!

With an acre of garden you have so many places to perform your illusions...the Shade garden and terrace look inviting and so does the picnic table. Its rustic look sent me off into my own world of nostalgia.

We've had a pretty rough summer here in Austin - my benches are also illusions -not of leisure, just of temperatures cool enough to enjoy being outside.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Rhonda said...

I truly enjoyed that post. So many of your sitting areas beckoned me to sit a spell.

Barbee' said...

Perennial Garden Lover (Virginia, U.S.A.): Thank you. A bit eccentric I fear, but that's me.

kd said...

Sometimes seeing a space that invites taking a few moments of leisure is often relaxing in and of itself.

Your post made me recall the website of an installation artist, Mark Jenkins (http://www.xmarkjenkinsx.com/nature.html)
You might enjoy taking a peek at it.


Ewa said...

This is great to have so many sitting places in the garden. This walk made me understand that I would like to have bigger garden than I have currently :)

Barbee' said...

Shibaguyz (Washington, U.S.A.): And you would be most welcome. Which do you prefer with your tea: lemon, spearmint, or anise hyssop? Thank you :)

annie in austin (Texas, U.S.A.): What a lovely way to express it, thank you! I understand about the heat. I am feeling it, too.

rhonda (Tennessee, U.S.A.): Thank you. It is a bit too warm out there right now, but in a few weeks we will have lovely September.

kd I had not thought of it that way. Thank you for that pleasant thought. Mark Jenkins... yes, I will go there right now. Thank you!

ewa (Poland): There are days I would like to give you this one! :)

spookydragonfly said...

What a touching post, Barbee...I'll bet many friends and family have warm memories of you and your gardens...possibly in one of your many sitting areas.

Balisha said...

What a lovely post. I was thinking of Gladys Tabor and Jill taking their picnic down to the pond at Stillmeadow.They really knew how to relax and enjoy their leisure.

Anonymous said...

If I had a garden like yours, Barbee, I'd be sitting more than working - and I wouldn't have the garden very long. It'd be a jungle!
Lovely memories for you - lovely 'art' and even lovelier setting.
Maybe, it's because YOU are lovely?
Your friend from 'Downunder'.

TC said...

Indeed, it is an "illusion of leisure" that is offered by empty lawn chairs. I spoke with Mother recently and recollected a bit about an old metal sliding chair that used to sit on the back porch. I asked her if she knew its whereabouts, she didn't. It made me sad to think that it might not be in a yard or on some porch somewhere. Funny how things like that become a part of you.

Karen said...

Wow, how nice to have so much space! I envy you. Then again, I'm probably too lazy to keep it all up. Like the empty lawn chair, "illusion of leisure."

Whidbey was amazing. I'm going to try to put up a post tomorrow about the organic u-pick garden where we stayed for the weekend.

Thanks for stopping by my site!

- Karen

Kathleen said...

Very thought provoking. I have various sitting areas in my garden also which hardly ever get used. We need to change that, don't we? I always plan to sit back and enjoy the "fruits of my labor" but somehow there's always something else to do. I love the story and sentimental value of your aluminium lawn chair. I would keep it for the same reasons...

Barbee' said...

spookydragonfly (Ohio, U.S.A.): Thank you, I hope so. But, to tell you the truth, I suspect most memories will be held by the young people who worked here to help me make it possible.

Balisha (Illinois, U.S.A.): Oh, thank you for the memories of Gladys and Jill! Yes, they did. I will tell you a secret: When I write, I always feel as if I am writing to Gladys. Did you read her two books about Amber? I think they are out of print now, but available on the Internet.

Bob (Australia): Hi there, bless your heart, it is so good to hear from you. You spoil me and it isn't even valentine's day! Thank you.

TC (Pennsylvania, U.S.A.): Thank you for understanding. I remember those old sliding chairs. In my birth family they were called 'gliders'. Kids love them. Well, the rest of us do, too.

Karen (Washington, U.S.A.): Hi, thank you for coming by. This space is a blessing some days, and a curse other days, depending on the temperature outside and how I am feeling. Our August break in the heat is over and temperatures are climbing again. Did you go wild in the organic-pick your own-garden? I would have to be very firm with myself. I'm that way when I go to our Farmers' Market.

Kathleen (Colorado, U.S.A.): I know! That is why I never use them. There is always more to do out there than I can get done. Of course, I bounce from one to the other, then the day is gone. Visiting neighborhood cats like some of the chairs.

Philip Bewley said...

What a beautiful post.I just loved it. I could just picture your grandfather under the tree with the gentle breeze.
I loved the tour of your garden! There are so many wonderful areas to enjoy and sit. Even if no one is sitting there, there is the potential of doing so!
Barbee, I have the exact wicker chair that you have on your porch. It has a twin!
Funny that you mentioned iced tea in the comments. I like my tea unsweeted but most people do not. I recently served it without sugar without thinking.Most people took one sip and that was it! When I was clearing away all the full glasses I realized what had happened. I wish they said something. It is actually very funny!
Anise hyssop! That sounds great!
Best Regards,

Barbee' said...

philip bewley (California, U.S.A.): Thank you so much! I should have written that he slept on it in a lowered position so that it was flat. I will go back and edit that.

You have the chair's twin?! This one came from the same place as the chaise lounge. The chair was my grandmother's. It is light so she could lift it and move it around where she wanted it. Nowadays, as I am the same age she was then, I enjoy it for the same reason.

You do have very polite guests! I'm surprised not one person asked for some sweetener. I like it unsweetened, too, well actually I like it both ways.

Balisha said...

I haven't read the ones you mentioned. I always loved her writing about her Cockers. I had one too and loved to compare their antics. I'll have to see if I can get a copy at the library.

Cynthia said...

These pictures make your garden seem so huge. You must need all those places to rest. :-)

I enjoyed your post today. The title is very appropiate for a lot of us gardeners. How many of us actually get the time to leisure in the garden?

And what a nice way to remember your grandfather in your own garden.

Barbee' said...

Cynthia (Oregon, U.S.A.): Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed the post. I had been thinking about doing it for a long time. Finally got it done.

GardenJoy4Me said...

Barbee .. I love all of your settings in these photographs .. the illusion of leisure must be the most agreed upon setting to all of us gardeners .. I found myself smiling and nodding at them all .. great series of photos !

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Barbee, I enjoyed your subject.

I have chairs and benches in the garden, but I never use them. Your title 'the illusion of leisure' perfectly describes my garden furniture. I cannot just sit and contemplate. While contemplating I see a flower that needs deadheading or a weed that needs pulling. I never just sit. I know it's sad but I just can't let the little things go.

Barbee' said...

GardenJoy4Me (Ontario, Canada): Thank you for the comment. We gardeners strive for that perfect look, the look that it was easy to achieve what is before our eyes, the look that we can loll about with tea or wine and watch our little paradises. But, we all know that the true story is: its jolly HARD WORK and lots of it. But, keeping up the illusion is fun and all gardeners know the secret.

garden girl said...

Barbee', what a lovely post, and a sweet way to remember your grandfather.

The best art stirs something deep inside, and I'd say your sculpture fits the fine art bill. It made me think of my own grandfather and his signature chair, and wistful about what may have become of it.

Barbee' said...

garden girl (Illinois, U.S.A.): Thank you deeply. I hope your grandfather's chair is being enjoyed by someone who appreciates it.

Andrea said...

wow. that is ALOT of space to be gardening. I love it.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Leisure is mostly an illusion in a garden (at least for the gardener). Your restful spaces are so evocative, I can just imagine sitting there watching the bees & butterflies. I love your Motel chairs, they are so fun.

Barbee' said...

Andrea (Ontario, Canada): You love it? Thanks! Bring the little one over and help me! I need all the help I can get. :)

Mr. McGregor's Daughter (Illinois, U.S.A.): Motel chairs? I'm not familiar with that term. Must be those white plastic ones. I bought them at a yard sale for $1.00 each, and they stack when we bring them into the garage to store for the winter. They are light enough for me to move around. That large metal light yellow one, is too heavy for me. We did have two of those, but a tree (The Most Important Tree) fell on it and flattened it like a pancake; it was the funniest looking thing!

Barbee' said...

roses and lilacs (Illinois, U.S.A.): Thank you. You got the meaning of my message exactly!