What I saw Saturday morning

December 7, 2015 Native-plant Design, Urban Design

Early Saturday in December, our tiny front garden: the grasses are bathed in light.

Behind them are the dog walkers, joggers, cars, and houses of this urban, early 1900s Atlanta neighborhood. But this patch, with each cobweb and feathery seed hair, is illumined, and the dried asters are silhouettes against the pink fog of Muhly grasses. I sit hidden on my bench behind the glowing witchhazel.

This is not the static Lawn-Evergreen Bush-Japanese Maple garden meant to convey the tidy citizenship of those who live there. But it is designed nonetheless. Given the space, soil, sunlight, and water, Nature designs in huge swathes; this is compressed; the layers chosen carefully as abstractions to convey the larger Piedmont.

But for those of us who love the urban fabric yet long to be connected to the wilder world, it feels like a door. Peering through it I catch a glimpse of Eliot’s “still point of the turning world.” Until the sun rises, the angle of light changes, the show fades.

Time for coffee. It’s cold.