Lotusland, Montecito, CA
"Old Souls in and Uncertain Land"
I visited Lotusland today and took photographs in preparation for a Georgia O’Keefe lesson for 4th Grade since they will soon take their annual field trip to this one-of-a-kind garden. I’m also doing a series of Santa Barbara Landscape paintings and wanted to include Lotusland in the exhibit.
As I wandered through the gardens on my own, I was struck by how I resonated with these exotic and prehistoric plants. Old souls all of them. All paradoxes. Each an enigma. Prickly yet elegant aloes of a sundry variety--thorny yet healing all at once. Delicate, wondrously beautiful cacti, holding us at spines’ distance and yet containing the watery nourishment within for one walking a parched desert. Bromeliads of every color and size imaginable and Staghorn Ferns, appearing strong and assured at first glance, but if you look closer their survival defies reason, for there are no discernible roots or holdfasts to allow them to cling to trees or rocks. They seem to live on air alone. And then there are the lotus flowers, of course! These exquisite flowers, symbols of rebirth and purity seem to emerge like phoenixes from the still waters of a dark and murky pond.
These plants seem pulled out of the natural order of life and seem to exist here in Lotusland like Old Souls from other dimensions that we’re allowed to view through some wrinkle in time perhaps. My existence often feels like one or another of these sequestered plants pulled out of time.
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