Landscape Mysteries: Algernon Blackwood

International Authors' DayBetween 14-18 July 2015, on each day, I will be making a post in celebration of International Authors’ Day, featuring review of works by Kenneth Grahame, J.L. Borges and Algernon Blackwood, authors whose works have been formative inspirations for me.

These posts will be made as part of a Blog Hop as can be seen and visited through the links at the bottom of each post.

Today is 16July2015.

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Landscape Mysteries: Algernon Blackwood
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1869-1951, Algernon Blackwood’s work can be found at Gutenberg.

…at the portal…

W. Graham Robertson illustrates the forest landscape in Algernon Blackwood’s, The Man whom the Trees Loved. (courtesy of callumjames blogspot)

Algernon Blackwood is an author who continues to inspire my senses when I take a walk in the garden, a walk in the landscape. Some have called him a cross between an outdoorsman and a mystic.

In his stories, the reader encounters a mystery–and that is where the story begins. Blackwood, at the point at which a character begins to uncover an internal mystery, takes the reader across a threshold–very carefully, step by step, revealing the experience.

Mysteries in the landscape only remain so if a person does not carefully question their reveal. Algernon Blackwood carefully questions their reveal in fine stories such as, The Initiation, The Man Whom the Trees Loved, Descent into Egypt, The Willows and many others.

Blackwood was a prolific writer; but my preferences are the stories where he carefully takes his reader on a journey into the reveal of mysteries found in the forest, in the landscape. He brings the reader to greater appreciation of those experiences that seem, how can I say…too normal?  Or too unusual?  Or too troublesome.

But we all have experienced them.

In the following two minute sound clip, on the Sussex weald, Algernon Blackwood’s character was helpless in the landscape, under the power of something quite ancient…

Algernon Blackwood was taken by the landscape of the upper coniferous forests in the Swiss Alps–you can almost feel it in the following three minute sound clip:

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…inhale again…deeply…

Upper Alpine coniferous forests breathe an air that humans find exhilarating…beyond words. What is it about those trees and the understory they protect and nourish?

Plants: how do they inspire you?
Please answer that question because on the last day of this International Authors’ Day Blog Hop, I will randomly select a winner to receive The 23 Club, Beta 6, a free giveaway for your reading enjoyment.

Landscape Story–what is it?

International Authors' DayBetween 14-18 July 2015, on each day, I will be making a post in celebration of International Authors’ Day, featuring review of works by Kenneth Grahame, J.L. Borges and Algernon Blackwood, authors whose works have been formative inspirations for me.

These posts will be made as part of a Blog Hop as can be seen and visited through the links at the bottom of each post.

 

 

Today is 14July2015.

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Landscape Story–what is it?
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These landscape stories are classic quests–journeys. Maybe a landscape story should start with some context, some definition.

On the earth, humans see the surface and what they see is landscape. The difference between landscape and garden is that a garden is cultivated by humans, is protected by humans and is relatively safe from threats of death to humans. Whereas in the larger landscape, the threat of death, by other life forms including humans, known or unknown, may be just ‘around the corner’, or even ‘in your face’.

Myself, I always have looked at it like this from a larger historical perspective: in the beginning humans moved in the landscape–hunting and gathering, I think is the currently popular way to describe their activities. When humans found the dangers in the landscape, when they found the threat of death in the landscape too great, they built shelters–the realm of architects today, shelters.

Then humans put fences around their shelters, cultivated plants and called those outdoor areas, gardens. Gardens are places dominated by plants, places where humans offer some personal service to plants. Gardens are places relatively safe from the danger of death. In the garden, there is protection. In the garden, the intense human energy for self defense can be suspended, enabling finer instincts of humans to be accessed.

Gardens and landscapes both are essentially the environment of plants. And plants  are the domain where the most dynamic interactions remain to be discovered by humans. Landscape stories explore dynamic interactions between humans and plants in gardens and landscapes.

A landscape story moves beyond furniture and setting. The plants, gardens and landscapes begin to have lives of their own…kind of like real life…and beyond. In the works of literature, arts and music, plants, gardens and landscapes have forever been the source of seemingly unlimited human inspirations. Of particularly rich inspirations for me have been works by Kenneth Grahame, by Algernon Blackwood, by J.L. Borges. Inspirations of sensual thresholds, of emotion, of intellect, of design, of beauty, of spirit, of existential uncertainty, of connecting essence, of source, of…

In The 23 Club, Erik Chalmers, a landscape architect, follows his obsession to build beautiful and captivating gardens in strange places…this time to the Empty Quarter in the Arabian Peninsula. On his way, he stops over in Bahrain and, in a kismet moment, bumps into an old friend, Jean-Claude Thibaut.

Jean-Claude Thibaut, an ethnobotanist, was born in the Belgian Congo and had built his career around exploring ‘borderline’ human cultures, Bedu, Gypsies, Berbers and their interactions with plants and landscapes. Erik finds out that Jean-Claude had recently been to the Empty Quarter to advise an Emirati on his masters thesis–a study of how people from the Liwa Oasis traditionally used plants in their extremely arid sand desert environment.

In the following 4 minute sound clip, Jean-Claude explains some of the unmappable experiences he had during his nine months driving everyday from Abu Dhabi to the Liwa Oasis, in the heart of the Empty Quarter–the very location of Erik’s new Liwa Qsar project, a five star resort destination series of courtyard gardens.

Then there is another facet to these landscape stories. They are fiction, but they use geography, history and botany to give the stories some ‘real life’ anchors, as in the following three minute clip where Erik Chalmers and Jean-Claude discuss the Spice Route over a plate of biryani at a truck stop in the middle of the ‘almost’ Empty Quarter.

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…inspiration…

…where is it…

Plants: how do they inspire you?
Please answer that question because on the last day of this International Authors’ Day Blog Hop, I will randomly select a winner to receive The 23 Club, Beta 6, a free giveaway for your reading enjoyment.

International Authors’ Day

International Authors' DayBetween 14-18 July 2015, on each day, I will be making a post in celebration of International Authors’ Day, featuring reviews of works by Kenneth Grahame, J.L. Borges and Algernon Blackwood, authors whose works have been formative inspirations for me.

These posts will be made as part of a Blog Hop as can be seen and visited through the links at the bottom of each post.

Also at the bottom of each post please find the giveaway question:

Plants: how do they inspire you?

Please answer that question in the comments section. On the last day of this International Authors’ Day Blog Hop, I will randomly select a winner to receive The 23 Club, Beta 6, a free giveaway for your reading enjoyment

Landscape Story–what is it?

14July 2015

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On Ecology–Kenneth Grahame

15July2015

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Landscape Mysteries–Algernon Blackwood

16July2015

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Existential Garden Visits–JL Borges

17July2015

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The 23 Club, Beta 6 Giveaway

18July2015

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In The 23 Club, Erik Chalmers, a landscape architect, follows his obsession to build beautiful and captivating gardens--this time to The Empty Quarter.

In The 23 Club, Erik Chalmers, a landscape architect, follows his obsession to build beautiful and captivating gardens–this time to The Empty Quarter.

Crystal Vision, Beta Edition, 26Sep2013

Crystal Vision is a landscape story.  It is a novella, literary fiction.

The past reaches for today

The past reaches for today

In Crystal Vision, George Moleson, an emerging professional, leaves his landscape architecture roots in Southern California, to build his international career, becoming a key person on a huge new town project located just near the Tropic of Cancer, on the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia.

After six cosseted years on that project, a quick succession of personal and professional events batter George.  They untether him; and he embarks into the labyrinthine mists of landscapes…landscapes the nature of he had never ever imagined.

Read Crystal Vision preface and the ten Episodes’ summaries.

From Bern to Bernese Oberlands Jungfrau Region

From Bern to Bernese Oberlands Jungfrau Region

Mountains, Plants, Water, Sky

Mountains, Plants, Water, Sky

Humans in the Mountains

Humans in the Mountains

Then please tell me if you like it or have any questions about it.

Thank you for your time and interest in the landscape.