For me, creation comes from creation. In deep green it is possible to find the spark necessary for a blaze. Surrounded by tall glass walls and cement, creation seems to wither and fade away.
That’s not to say that I can’t write within a city setting, I just find that doing so is like digging for gold rather than having it appear in hand at the riverside. In the garden, among birds and leaves, I find myself entering a flow that is broken and obstructed in grid-lined streets. I’m sure many other writers and creatives have also felt this at some point or another, unable to quiet the thousands of voices that surround them in a large city. As soon as you step out of that world and into the natural, thoughts start to become clearer. They are easier to grasp and isolate from the noise of life.
Imagine escaping hustle, bustle and Wi-Fi, the only goal being to find oneself in the forest. It’s the aspiring yogi’s dream, the cosmopolitan hipster’s fantasy and the young writers ideal office. The journey is not simple, though. It’s all too easy to become lost in the forest.
Luckily, this morning I found some guardian angels and kind spirits in the garden at Can Serrat. Whether they were born here or flew from some place else, I have no idea. The important thing is that they exist.
Who are these patient spirits, you might wonder? To be completely honest, I’m not even sure. How can someone get to know the true nature of an otherworldly being (a piece of art, a rotting statue, a broken shard of tile) in the small hours of the morning? I have some idea after my brief encounters.
With all due respect to the Angels of the Garden, I would like to share the names and stories of some of them with you (at least those that I know so far).
A true beauty, even in decay. Forever and always a mother of ideas and protector of those who tire easily. She stands atop a dais, surrounded by shattered colour, looking out over the garden and making sure that all who pass through it have a guiding light.
Tog Beg Rog
A spirit of mischief and adventure. The triple-headed being sits at the crossroads between home and mountain trail, protecting the villa from more malevolent tricksters that live in the mountains, while pulling his own tricks on those within.
A needy angel who lost his body a long time ago, perhaps a thousand years or more. His home is now a garden bed and his crown a mess of overgrown grass. The Supplicant still feels that he deserves worship, even though his might has long since vanished. Visitors leave offerings of burnt tobacco and decay and he is well pleased.
An angel of some advanced age, as old or older than The Supplicant. Probably older than time itself, built destroyed or dying before birth. Embratha remains standing in the garden, waiting for the embrace of vines and mould. Over time, the weight of the wind has worn away her form, leaving her disfigured and terrifying to some, but that only makes her desire for love more powerful. Proof that image isn’t all.
A spirit of iron, lord of the brick world and master of mosaic. Mollgoth is a totem of Earthly creation, a guiding hand for humanity’s hammer and fork. This spirit watches over revellers and artisans alike, delighting in offerings of beer and strongly smelling grass-smoke. Mollgoth is quick to anger and unafraid of charging. The trophy from some past hunt remains tangled to the ring in his noise.
The Young Snail
A naive spirit, already growing a patina of age. The Young Snail longs to achieve the level of reverence that its fellow spirits receive daily, but finds itself lost within the shell of its own anxiety. The Young Snail is a guiding spirit for the ego. Within the curl of its shell lies a path to some gooey truth.
The aspect of Mars in the garden, brandishing iron and glass and riding on wings of fury (or furious clay). War wears a placid mask, but stands powerful; a deterrent to invaders and usurpers who would take advantage of the garden’s natural beauty. Beware the stare!
Across a pathway of brick and cement, Peace follows her cousin, War (or precedes depending on your direction). Peace is meek and humble, respectful to the passing of visitors. Peace does not require offering, but offers from herself. Among all the garden’s angels, Peace is the most silent and thoughtful.
Spirit of chaos and violent rupture, a being constantly in flux, forming and reforming under the light of the sun. The Camel carries within it the promise of creation, destruction and energy. Smashed once, it will reform as something more powerful. The Camel never stops walking/working.
Less of a guardian angel than a friendly spirit. There are many aspects of Peq to be found throughout the garden, in countless forms and sizes. Peq is like a mushroom, spreading spores of innocent happiness around the villa. This is a spirit of homeliness and companionship. Every good garden needs a family.
And so now you know a bit more about the pantheon of garden angels here at Can Serrat. The amazing slice of land around the villa seems to team with life, of flesh and blood, of chlorophyl and leaf and even of stone and paint.
Creating art away from the city is an almost religious, unique experience. And it’s something that is becoming increasingly rare. Previous residents have all left their mark on the villa and garden here, creating angels and spirits along the way, maybe without even realising. Hopefully I can use my time to add to the ever growing story of this place. Hopefully the stories here can influence my own.
Look a bit deeper into the garden (a garden of any size or shape) and I’m sure you’ll find your own guiding spirits as well.