CJ was coming of age and he was lost. He had wanted to get absorbed in a different culture. The labyrinth had captured him. In his despair he turned to his oldest friend, a girl with whom he had been growing for the past six years. And she became his strength. Though separated from CJ by thousands of miles, she lit his path to clarity.
…mountain, sky, forest and lake…
Gray sky? Yes.
White snow? Yes.
But the color of the lake? Look carefully and compare with the summer photo taken at the same time of day of the same mountain.
The above landscapes provide me daily inspirations to write about the landscape architecture past times of Christopher Janus, known to his friends as CJ, and his landscape encounters in Tangier Gardens. Please visit my Tangier Gardens landing page to sign up for launch discounts and more info on CJ’s north west Africa landscape searches for portals.
***As of NOV2021***PLEASE NOTE***FLAHERTYLANDSCAPE HAS MOVED ITS URL TO A NEW DOMAIN–https://flahertylandscape.com CONTENT THE SAME ONLY A NEW URL. PLEASE CLICK THAT LINK.
CJ had visited Morocco once before. A long time ago . He was with his Mom. And he was only six. They spent three months on the beaches of Essaouira; but they never visited Tangier.
Now 20 years later he was on his way to Tangier. He thought he knew Morocco.
***PLEASE NOTE***FLAHERTYLANDSCAPE HAS MOVED ITS URL TO A NEW DOMAIN–https://flahertylandscape.com CONTENT THE SAME ONLY A NEW URL. PLEASE CLICK THAT LINK.
Christopher Janus, CJ, had visited Morocco once with his mom when he was only seven–he had memories. He remembered sun and fun. Now nearly two decades later he, studying landscape architecture at university, was planning a design study term abroad. This, however was to become a different journey. The Moroccan tourism advertising was for sun and fun. That’s what he hoped for.
He had been six years full time at university. He needed a break. Sun and fun on the Mediterranean in Morocco? Great Moroccan markets in the pedestrian-only medinas? What was not to like?
When CJ crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and arrived in Tangier, the cultural complexity…the mists of cultural history…the cultural reality fog overwhelmed him. His carefully planned design study disappeared into a thickly uncertain maze. In this journey, he was blinded. He couldn’t find any portals.
His attempts to work through that maze is the basis for my upcoming novel, Tangier Gardens.
Readers…by now you know that my blog, flahertylandscape, is all about plants and people–landscape journeys. Sounds fair and safe enough; but what I am about to share with you goes beyond strange.
Anyone who has worked in a garden–suffered blisters and callouses in a garden for fruit, vegetables, flowers, medicine–knows there is something more in those gardens. This is for you.
A short while ago, I prepared to record the revised draft of one of my novels to perform a sentence by sentence development edit. To my surprise, as I set up a folder for the audio, I found an old 30minute .aif file entitled Chocolate Gardens.
The Chocolate Gardens tells the story of a Tangier, Morocco garden, as recorded by Christopher (CJ) two decades ago. In order to visit the garden he was required by the garden’s owners, a Brit and a Ruskie, to undergo a special ordeal of chocolate and absinthe before walking at sunset in the garden. CJ first had to visit the land of the green fairies before he could enter their Oval Garden. This is that story.
I have attached a link to a 30 min. SoundCloud file that tells that story from the early days, back when I was developing the beta version. I am moving this story forward as Tangier Gardens–out of the classroom into real life…via plant portals. Click on the SoundCloud link immediately below and listen to Christopher tell his story.
This is in part a freshly edited re-post of a 2015 post I made, entitled Chocolate, Gardens and Magic, which if I might say so, was well illustrated with Art Nouveau graphics. There you can read Christopher’s Tangier garden story–his journey in search of portals.
What is a nature prescription? Why do you need it? Political or health albatross around your neck? A walk out past the edge of town?…just like Dancing in the Moonlight. Take a break.
How can I get free of this stinking political and health fear-stuffed albatross?
Suppose this page is about you…and suppose you are wound up tighter than a drum by the tension of world wide and local politics and health. This page is your wayfinder.
THE PURPOSE OF THE BLOG AND ALL MY WRITING is to assist you the visitor to begin taking steps along a path toward discovering the regenerative existential cures to be freely found in plants, gardens and the landscape.
THE FIRST STEP is what could be called ‘nature prescriptions’–calibrated doses of time outside. Take a walk. But does the walk heal? What actually happens? What is on the path that takes you on a journey? Where do landscape journeys take you?
And why even take that path and that journey?
A walk, a journey just for the landscape?–heh, I know what you are thinking–we all know what landscape is, right? Same old, same old, right?
flahertylandscape contends it is more–consider this:
The landscape can be a private cocoon to rest the restless.
On the walk you may weave dreams full of surprise and delight yielding true moments of repose.
It can be a journey to unwind, to regenerate, to reconnect with inner peace, to nest away from the daily hustle and bustle.
I am embedded in a landscape that has moved from spring into the definites of summer. The basics and the speed of spring growth have finished. For some, the hazy sameness of summer signals the onset of boredom.
Nope, not for me.
Clouds change like the seasons, too slowly to easily see.
And that is how the flahertylandscape blog is changing–slowly.
I set up this web site to talk about the landscape. Since 2013, most of the posts encourage the reader to interact with the landscape, its gardens and plants.
This blog also includes a section on landscape architecture, my profession.
And I have also included a section entitled landscape stories.
I wanted to write landscape stories spurred by my own career in landscape architecture to give to students some insights into what they might find in their careers.
Goes back to my university education where I found the most interesting and valuable courses to be a series of 2 week summer courses taught by private sector landscape architects. Why? Real world projects had a resonance that was absent from typical class room assignments.
Situations in post graduation offices taught lessons never addressed at university.
So I wanted to provide that resonance and reality for students still in university. You might ask, why don’t you teach? My response? Teach?!! Different animal–designing and getting a project built–that’s what I can share…and then there is the small item of my stroke four years ago. Isolated now. Don’t do crowds well. Don’t multi-task. Don’t do tit for tat speed–so I write.
Now I am getting to my seasons change title.
I will be gradually modifying this blog as I get closer to the ARC of my debut novel, Tangier Gardens, the first in the series, The Landscape Architect–fictional autobiographical stories that track the strange twists and turns in the life of a landscape architect who is committed to professional career practice. ARC? Advance Review Copy–working on this now.
Over the next six months, I will track the ARC, the pre-publication and the launch. All will happen and be accommodated on this blog.
But I also have a presence on YouTube which features the many years I lived and worked in the Arabian Peninsula. It has been years since I dug into the Empty Quarter–that place in SW Asia around which a lot of my professional career as a landscape architect revolved. You wonder about that landscape? Here is a taste. Follow the links embedded in each photo.