September 16, 2009

A garden and a red-headed eve

Posted in feminism, music, sexuality tagged , , , at 7:01 am by Lakshmi (LaChelle)

tori apple

I love gardens and that the story of creation and the fall is set in one. They are magical and ethereal and constantly changing in their seasons. And I always think it is really interesting when feminists re-read the story to reclaim Eve, because at one time all women were blamed by Tertullian and others for being “daughters of Eve” the woman (and woman is emphasized) who just ruined everything and kept us barred from paradise for a long time afterward.

But gardens can be dark, vulnerable, quiet, secret, secluded, places where we get naked, intimate touches underneath clothes near a bullfrog pond, the humidity, the dark skin and dark eyes, the buzzing, the prayers, wandering in a place that we can almost pretend is untouched but then again touched several times. The wet dirt, the storms and the rain, the shelter the trees provide. The girls that get married there. How pretty the fuschia flowers make your hair look in a photograph. The nature that produces something you can actually bite, roll around on your tongue – you can just take it, pull it off, but it goes inside of you and becomes a part of you and someday you become a part of the earth or just expel it.

I remember going to a garden once, we explored it together. Often I like to go to gardens alone and sit near the steps of running water and close my eyes and let the sunlight press gently into my cheeks, but this time I was with a boy. And it was one of the last times we would see each other for a long time; it was our last week. You can’t help how people make you feel sometimes. He often made me feel depressed and unwanted. I hated the feeling of always longing for someone, but him never quite being enough, even when he did love only me and he was my boyfriend. But the bad feelings drained away so often, and he might have been the only one I ever loved. And that day in the garden, we knew there was passion and warmth and need. The whole garden consumed us, and it was ours, a big vast expanse of tall trees and bridges and cascading water over large stones, and me in my purple umbrella. We took lots of pictures that day, but I don’t remember holding anything that wasn’t ethereal, doing anything that wasn’t hazy and sad and beautiful. We were so communicative that day with our eyes. He was my first awakening, and my only one since. If only he could have been truly a god, then he would have known the right things to say and what to keep silent.

Gardens for me hold memories, some true and some imagined, a reality on some other plane. Why can everything in a garden always be so symbolic? You don’t need the material gems and cars, you’ve got lush flowers and waxy soft leaves and a great blue dimming sky that hangs, hovers, weighs down on you but is suspended so you can never touch it and never get away ¬†from it at the same time, you just swim in it. I love the gardens. They are mysterious whole worlds.