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A good place

Being in contact with nature, if it is a complete experience, is not always pleasant. Not everything is paradise. Those are experiences in which we are surprised or astonished by disconcerting emotions that we do not know how to deal with, and we are often revealed in our comfortable smallness, faced with the impertinence of natural movements in wanting to follow their destiny, even if it is not what we designed. But we are affected by this experience, or at least we will be, if we are prepared and open-hearted for this journey.

How many of us are ready to search for the dreamed deserted beach, and spend some time there immersed in magnificent scenes, devoid of all the arsenal of urban superfluous?

The rainforest is too humid and hot; insects of all sizes and species are attacking unwanted visitors. Many animals, birds and splendid vegetation in fantastic associations. Giant trees, intertwined with each other moved by survival instinct, supporting aquatic fauna and flora, welcomed by the infinite bromeliads in their crowns. Palm trees, fruits, large and small flowers, a world of undiscovered discoveries, many already made by forest men and those who venture into the noble mission of deciphering and respecting it.

The deserts of sand, salt and minerals, with boiling interior volcanoes and extreme altitudes, cause us discomfort, but offer us pure beauty, instigating us to be fulfilled with so many unexpected shapes and colors. Few winning plants and animals, almost heroic populations tracing their course in this perspective of cohabiting an inhospitable place.

The great glaciers emanating a deep blue do not want us close, especially the damage we do by collapsing them with the heat. We should be grateful if one day we could feel the unique sensation of admiring them face to face, making a bow.

The Atlantic forest, when it spreads out on the beach by the river, is so beautiful, and in its interior there are rugs of delicate plants with colors and shades as varied as their shapes. Trees like true totems erecting orchids of all sizes with magnificent inflorescences, and so many other epiphytes. But its steep relief and unstable soil, the great humidity and the wind raising the salty sea, do not want us there. You have to be extremely delicate to live in this place, starting with the construction that will be built there, and to be there you cannot impose our stereotype of good living, so aggressive and so incongruous with this environment.

Perhaps it is not by chance that man appeared in the savannah, despite the great beasts that already reigned. It is vast, immense, but in a way habitable by man, without the destructive impulse of self-preservation having to destroy it.

Perhaps the greatest difficulty today is to understand the abysmal difference between being in contact with nature and respecting it, actually trying, or even wanting to understand it. The idyllic idea of Nature reduces our natural living to consume it in an abrasive and predatory way. How far are we from protecting these ecosystems around the world, despite the interconnectivity and much knowledge at our disposal. Knowing them, admiring them, thrilling ourselves without wanting to dominate and destroy.

To live with Nature, you must be humble and, above all, know how to always observe it, its movements, its functioning, the moods, the beauty, the processes. We have so much to learn from these experiences.

I think that making gardens is creating a place that gives us peace and joy of soul, and that prepares us to this closer living to the things of Nature.

A good place that makes us better and that gives us the dimension and reference of our space in the world, rescuing our already masked essence.

And how are these places that make us feel good? And why do they make us feel good? Why do they make us want to be there, want to come back? Nature clippings in their milder versions?

Nature does not accept imitations, fragmentation, nor is it up to us to claim it.

Are they big, small, full, empty places? Is a bench and a tree enough? When? In summer, in winter, or in autumn and spring, the sensations are so different! Even more so in a tropical or temperate climate. Filtered light under the canopy? Sun or shade, when? Straight or curved lines? Why did we choose one or the other to draw this or that place? Or both? The wind, the still air, the seasons and their mutations. Dense, sparse vegetation, flowers, fruits, which species and why? The water, and all its sounds and movements. The silence, the surroundings. This is the exercise of our work, finding the password to decipher these mysteries, and so many others, each season, and creating a good place.

writing and watercolor Isabel Duprat

January, 2015


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