January 28th, 2022

IT’S BEEN A WHILE! Here is what Louise sent me yesterday:


En ce début de matinée, l’herbe haute embuée de givre tend sur le paysage une écume glacée, immobile; au sommet de la colline, une lumière irréelle perce le sous-bois.

La maison des belettes, Nathalie Fougeras.

My translation:

As morning breaks, the high, frosted grass covers the landscape with its spume, motionless; at the crown of the hill, a surreal light pierces the undergrowth.

La maison des belettes, Nathalie Fougeras.

Louise followed her choice of quote with the following:

Ce livre m’a été offert par mon amie dont la petite de 4 ans a été reconnue autiste. Et ce livre est écrit et illustré par une autiste. C’est beau, beau, touchant et il parle de la nature, de la vraie nature, pas celle contrôlée par les hommes!

Elle parle d’un vieux thuya qui n’a jamais été taillé et de voir toute la majesté du port de cet arbre très vieux alors que nous les humains, nous les taillons pour qu’ils soient carrés et uniformes. Quel gâchis! Voilà!

My translation:

This book was given to me by a friend whose little four year-old daughter was just diagnosed with autism. And the author and illustrator of this book is also autistic. It’s a beautiful, beautiful book that speaks of nature, real nature, not nature controlled by humans!

It’s about an old thuja that was never trimmed, and it’s about seeing all of the majesty of this very old tree, while we humans prune them into uniform geometrical shapes. What a mess! Voilà!

In this hearfelt message to me, Louise sets up this beautiful parallel about the way we treat life—both plant and human–coercing each to fit into a very circumscribed view of what each should be, and diminishing both in doing so.

I’ve always hated gardens in which the imprint of humans is seen everywhere: the classic French garden, for example, considered a pinnacle of gardening art, has always made me feel sad, and even a bit disgusted.

And I think that we are much the same in our treatment of each other.

Tree branch sways slowly

    As a child sings a sweet song

    Gracefully it goes.

Haiku source:

IMAGES (from left to right):

  1. Novel cover
  2. Classic French garden
  3. Garden gone wild
  4. Sculpted thujas
  5. Wild thujas

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