Sunday, July 21, 2013

Light Up the Night!

Parks and gardens are among some of my favorite things; I prefer the overgrown, unruly kind, the kind that suggests that if you wander long enough you might discover SECRETS... like a castle with a Sleeping Beauty still immured deep within its walls, or plump, scarlet-capped mushrooms with white gills like lace around their pale stalks and hallucinations leaking from their centers, or glistening snails slithering over green shrubbery like liquid pearls, or robin's nest full of warm, turquoise eggs. It could be enchantment... or toads. It could be anything. All you have to do is pick a meandering path and follow it and keep your eyes open and ready to see.

Gardens at dusk are a thing of dreams, full of hidden magic, of fey, of shadowy, twilight beauty. And at night they are a world of mystery, of looming trees, of sweeping inkiness, of unseen nocturnal creatures known only by their call. Have you ever explored the woods in the dark? Have you ever felt the excitement and awe of wandering in the warm summer shadows? It's amazing! Amazing!

Summer nights ARE mysterious, and if you add glowing garlands, twinkling lights strung between the trees, candles flickering on the empty wooden barrels, paper-shaded lamps suspended from the boughs you find yourself immersed in Midsummer Night's Dream. It's wonderful. Spellbinding.

Last Saturday at the Light Up the Night: a benefit for Descanso Gardens, Troy and I walked the lantern lit trails, heard coyotes sing in the nearby bushes, picked our way through the smoky blackness by the moonlight, listened to owls deftly pluck their prey from the whispering creak, shivered at the night-sounds we couldn't begin to guess and danced to our flashlights. It made us feel young, adventurous and silly. It made us think of druids and ancient rites, starlit dances and pagan festivals. It inspired us to transform our own backyard into a place of enchantment and sit there in the candlelight-pricked dark, talking to each other and touching and laughing and watching the branches like black lace overhead.

It struck me how much the adults need the mystery and romance of a little Fairy-Tale, how delicious it is to talk in whispers, how beautiful it is to hold your loved one's hand in the almost-dark and watch the shadows dance over each other's faces. All it took was a few LED candles and a string of warm, clear lights.
 Descanso Gardens at dusk...
...and at night!

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