I was walking around the yard with the dogs the other day, and I started wondering if yard art is a kind of Rorschach test…is it possible to gain insight into the psyche and emotional makeup of a person by studying their lawn ornaments?
For example, Mom has a garden populated with every kind of fairy statue imaginable, and at night it’s a magical fairyland atwinkle with a dozen or more solar lights. The garden seems a perfect reflection of Mom's light-hearted, mischievously humorous, and optimistic character.
What does it say about Ray and I, I wonder (non-Catholic, non-churchgoing folks), that scattered around Uncannery Row are statues of Mary and St. Francis? What does the goddess figure with seashell breasts suggest? Or the plant hanger with 8 spidery arms and a glow-in-the-dark glass ball on top? Or the cement penguin in the daylilies? Hmmm…
One of our Mary’s, I call her Our Lady of the Spiders, my friend found tossed in a dumpster along a highway. Surely, this is proof of Divine Intervention—someone tossed Mary out along a highway where my friend just happened to be travelling, she just happened to remember my Marian fascination, and my birthday just happened to be around the corner. I especially like this Mary, because she has an unusually crabby face for a holy icon, accentuated by puffy bags under her droopy, tired eyes. She’s plastic, and we’ve stuffed her full of white solar LED lights, so that at night when she glows softly out by the fence, she looks eerily exhausted. Maybe that’s the point—maybe maternal weariness, long-suffering patience, and the sacrifices of love are what draw me to the Marian ideal in the first place.
Hanging on our pyramid-shaped outbuilding are giant concrete sun and moon discs my brother sculpted and gave to my daughter as a wedding present. They’re on loan to us for a while, and they seem to BELONG on the pyramid—a sort of celestial reckoning with our most ancient spiritual and mathematical roots. And if pyramids really do turn out to be communication beacons for extra-terrestrials, well, I’ve got plenty of tomatoes and jalapenos to send home with visitors.
Our Lady of the Water, the seashell woman, sits beside a beautiful mosaic tiled birdbath, both made by an artist friend whose work I have scattered around the yard and in the house. Our Lady of the Water reminds me that whatever we layer on through the years in order to divide & subdivide, sort & separate us from each other, we are all identically elemental underneath—water, air, glass bones & tendon mortar. This helps me to remember that I am my sister’s and my brother’s keeper, which includes even those in the human family I’d sometimes rather not claim as relatives.
St. Francis is a “gimme” at first glance. After all, he’s the saint who communed with animals, and Uncannery Row is one zebra short of being a wildlife sanctuary. But the fascination for me is that St. Francis, according to some religious scholars, was the first “documented” case of someone receiving the stigmata. These are the seven wounds of Christ, which have, the stories go, spontaneously appeared in some pretty unlikely people since the Crucifixion. Padre Pio is the most talked-about example, but there have been many, including several women. I don’t know if these experiences are genuine spiritual phenomena, but I find myself at times extremely moved, sometimes to tears, just thinking about the implications if they are. It’s like the story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor, when the Misfit, an escaped murderer, says to a grandmother he’s about to kill, that if we knew for sure whether Christ really resurrected, it would change everything. because if Christ didn’t really live, die, and rise from the dead, then all the piety and moral rules mean nothing. If he did, we would all have to drop what we’re doing, give away our stuff, and follow.
Sticking out of the fence around the back patio, there’s an interesting accoutrement we inherited from the former residents. It’s a piece of wood balanced in the fence, grown at one end around a rock, and at the other end around the fence wire. I wonder what this work of art will come to represent about US someday…
Emilie's minion on the moveThis begins another summer of wandering and adventuring! I intend to post once or twice a week, except for the month of July wh...
2 years ago