Thursday, August 13, 2009

A textscape: The text of our childhood and the landscape -- can your heart leap up?

I sat in tonight as an observer of the final design studio course presentations of students about to graduate from Columbia University's MS in Landscape Design. There was, as you might imagine, lots of variation in design solutions presented. But, repeatedly, a subtext arose in students's comments about why they made a certain choice (design or planting): It reminded him/her of some experience of their childhood. And this totally, authentically resonated with me -- I know my pleasure / engagement with landscape is very much influenced by the experiences I had with nature / gardens growing up. I'd say that those of use who've had the blessing of growing up with some engagement with the natural world carry that experience with us forever -- in sensual memory, in aesthetic principal. Without belaboring the point, remember Last Child in the Woods.

Even though grimy life today makes it tough. All these memories of Grandma's garden, etc., makes it understandable why William Wordsworth's heart lept up.