Finding Inspiration

Do you have a special place in nature that provides you with inspiration? I love going to museums and seeing art and artifacts, but there’s just something glorious about being out in nature. I’m a natural pagan. While I can admire great buildings and sigh before a beautiful work of art, I can agree with Sebastian in Brideshead Revisited that a tree or a flower can inspire equal awe: especially trees!

I went to a local lovely spot with my friend Maura on Bank Holiday Monday and we tramped around the wonderful Brigit’s Garden before the crowds got there. The day didn’t look propitious at its start. Rain bucketed down as we drove out of town into Connemara. Fortunately it stopped by the time we got there, and as the day wore on it became just lovely.

They had a special themed event for their spring reopening, the “Sole of the Garden” exhibit, which featured — yes! — shoes as planters.  You can guess someone had the bright idea here of connecting spike heels with the spiny spikes of the cactus.

People used everything: wellies, trainers, boots, dress shoes — even a pair of red clogs. You can see the whole picture album on my Facebook page (it’s public).

Of course the most important thing to me wasn’t the planters but the gardens themselves and even more the trees and rocks, some of which are incredibly old. The tree at the top of the post was probably my favourite. Very old tree, also the vine that wraps around it has kind of taken over and the rocks beneath them offer both an obstacle and a challenge to the roots. Amazing what can be done with patience and time!

The beauty of nature is a big part of the inspiration it gives me; I can just stare at the intricacy of roots or the fantastic shape of a tree in amazement. Flowers, sure — they’re beautiful, but have you looked closely at leaves? The infinite varieties, the individual shapes while maintaing the overall recognised form — fascinating! Of course there’s also the other kinds of inspiration: inadvertent surreal suggestions. It’s a habit of our brains to make connections.

The way we make connections has a lot to do with shape as  our brains recognise the similar patterns. We can see a face in the leaves, a body in trunk and a nest of snakes in the roots of a tree. Where a glacier has shaped a rock, we might even see a sleeping dragon…

Where do you find inspiration in nature?

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