Nature as Inspiration

I love words, patterns and images, and I like to write. This blog is a vehicle for me to share what I’m seeing and how it informs my world, my landscape design work with clients, and their gardens. Of late, I’ve been musing about the visual imagery that was imprinted at an early age.

I spent my first ten years living in Walnut Creek, with a grassy hill right behind the house – a verdant playground. In spring, I’d lay among the wild flowers and inhale the cleanness of it all. As the months wore on, the grasses turned their quintessential California beige – and became the perfect site for cardboard sleds, on which we hollered our way down the hill. I learned to ride horses in Danville, and to this day, the sight of those hills makes me nostalgic.

From age ten on, we lived in the Santa Clara Valley; my parents had the good fortune to be part owners of acreage abutting Big Basin Park. We traipsed across the land, learning the Latin names of native plants on walks with my father, a UC forestry grad. I remember riding up to the property in the back of an old truck. We’d lay on our backs as we traveled our way up to the property– letting the dappled sunlight filtering through the Redwoods and Buckeyes flicker across our faces.

The Buckeyes were still blooming as I drove up to Yosemite this weekend for a memorial service. It was the perfect place to honor someone who’s passion had been climbing in this majestic valley. We stood in a circle at Camp 4 in the shelter of ancient rock outcrops and equally wizened oaks.  As I settled into the space to really be present, I noticed an oak that had grown sideways in the embrace of implacable stone.

I was in awe.

How can one not be inspired by the grandeur and wisdom of nature. As we crawled our way out of the Yosemite Valley, thick with tourists, I marveled at the simplicity and elegance of the surrounding meadows – true inspiration for the meadows I’m helping clients create in suburbia – bringing a taste of sheer brilliance from the wild into their own front yard. Patterns and images, past and present, all influencing how we see and inhabit our world and work.

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