All posts tagged: Aesthetics

Content dealing with the idea of aesthetics and beauty.

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Reflections of Nepal: Landscape Impressions

Update: With the recent earthquake in Nepal, I’m very sad to realize many of the wonderful people and places I encountered are lost forever. In memoriam. We came across many beautiful landscapes in Nepal, some shaped by natural processes, others conceived and constructed by human minds and hands. We sought to describe their beauty and the impressions they left on us.

A Landscape’s Story: The Nitobe Memorial Garden

With the focus on nature-culture relationships within the confines of the garden, I would like to share my experience at the Nitobe Memorial Garden at the University of British Columbia last week. A Japanese Zen garden can itself be interpreted as a narrative of change, revolving around the natural and human cycles of birth, maturation, growth, and death. (At least that’s what the pamphlet says!) Here are some photos and descriptions of my journey through the beautiful and meticulously designed landscape: “Each tree, stone and shrub has been deliberately placed and is carefully maintained to reflect an idealized conception and symbolic representation of nature. There is harmony among natural forms – waterfalls, rivers, forests, islands and seas – and a balance of masculine and feminine forces traditionally attributed to natural elements.” (Nitobe Memorial Garden website)  “Water crossings reflect different life stages such as marriage, spiritual growth, etc.” (Nitobe Memorial Garden guide pamphlet) “…the 7-storey pagoda adds an exotic beauty to aid peaceful meditation. The buddha carving suggests a teenager’s search for life’s meaning.” (Nitobe Memorial …

Michael Pollan Second Nature Word Cloud 1

Pollan’s Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education, Part 1

The arrival of spring in the city along with the 190th birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted (the man who built New York’s Central Park) has prompted me to look to the parks, the garden, and the backyard for story ideas. After thoroughly enjoying In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto and The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, I thought this would be the perfect time to explore author Michael Pollan’s perspective on gardening in Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education. The significance of narrative in non-fiction is easy to overlook. There is traditionally an emphasis on content: Are there enough facts? Does the author get the information right? Does he/she make a logical case for his/her argument(s)? But delivery matters too. A strong narrative, conveyed through a unique and authentic voice, has the ability to linger in the minds of readers long after they have put down the book. When it comes to exploring the relationships between nature and culture, Michael Pollan is an excellent storyteller. Second Nature, despite being one of his …