The Garden

Warley Place

Walking in a garden that once was beautiful, where the heady aroma of rare exotic plants filled the air and the dazzling palette of their flamboyant pigments filled the eye. We are not lost, we are visitors, guests among the garden ghosts of a lost estate. The Manor House that once stood among the regal oaks and noble elms, entertaining Queens and Princes in pomp and glory, has vanished into dust – lost when the family fortune died and abandoned to nature’s way and the unforgiving elements. Now nothing moves through its fabled rooms but the four winds. The ancient garden walls lie conquered, overgrown and crumbling, backs broken by the trees they once enclosed. Overcome by irresistible trunks and ravished by thrusting roots that penetrate and despoil their foundations, the bricks and mortar swoon and fall. Nature will always find the weakness in your foundations.

In the fading light the garden sings her sorrowful song of loss and decay, of time past and time past and time passing…remembering when she was young and beautiful, when she was be-wigged and perfumed and wore the finest clothes of green and gold, attended by fragrant roses, exotic orchids and scented rows of lilac, lavender and stocks. All who saw her loved her madly and brought gifts to her table every day, exulting in the golden light of her glory. Now, all she has is faded glamour, her ragged clothes and tears. We stand in her boudoir where every spring the sap once rose, luring a thousand suitors to win her favour, where none but the beautiful and beguiled were granted entry into the orphic kingdom – the garden of the Goddess. All that entered into this realm were minstrels to her court and each must sing for favour or never come again.

Here – where the sound of old trees creaking and cracking in the cold air, the chorus of invisible birds and the sibilation of insects echo in sinister concert with Stockhausen’s ‘Herbstmusik’, – we become disorientated, and yet, enchanted; bewitched by the garden’s dying light. We are lost in a strange illusion among the phantoms and phantasms of the garden and her memories. In the evanescent half-light nothing moves, and yet there is no silence; all sound becomes extravagant as the day becomes obscure. The click and clack of nature’s sound resounds around like castanets in the undergrowth, the air is a dissonant cacophony of whistling, tweeting, hooting and cackling – every sense becomes confused, sounds usurps vision as the light is extinguished by time – for time is the hand that turns the planets around the stars, the celestial fires ignited by time at time’s first tick that burn above this earthly realm, a glorious fretwork of heavenly incandescence inspiring poetry and fear. Ruthless and relentless time turns the morning and the evening, round and round, the eternal cosmic la ronde between night and day. Time is the hand upon the wheel, time is life, time is death, time is time and time again until the rose is one with the fire, all is ash and light becomes forever black…

We must take our leave as the curtain falls on the exquisite masquerade and escape before the wood sprites appear in the moonglow that bathes the Goddess with shimmering luminous flux.

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  1. To begin with, the picture is very pulverantic in feeling. The blurriness on the sides as if one awakens in the late evening thinking it’s morning, not a disorientation, but a subtle shuffling of reality, especially the shadows and tone. Then the weeping text as if an unrequited love has bruised the heart, a longing to go back to the motherland, to be home in this case as if a reliquary: a breathless nearly holy silence as the wheels of the giant time pass.

    1. Thanks again for your kind words.
      There is no processing of the image, the picture was shot on Ilford FP4 film using a cheap plastic Holga camera with a plastic lens, which causes the softness. What you see is what is on the negative.

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