The Upper Room in Winter

March 25th, 2018 | 16 Comments »

The Upper Room is as glorious in winter as it is in spring, summer and fall. The highlight in every season is the beautiful screen outlining the bare branches of a dogwood tree.


The Upper Room is pristine in the morning light.
The Upper Room stands tall in the morning light.


Drawn by the Montreal artist Mary Martha Guy, the tree branches become more starkly striking with the late afternoon sun shining through.


A symphony of blacks, whites and shafts of light.
The screen is a symphony of blacks, whites and shafts of light.


A close-up of four of the glass panels fabricated by the Montreal glass artists at Vitrerie VM Montreal make the bare thorn-like  branches appear to stab the air.


Shadows fall in every direction.
Shadows suggest figures walking behind the glass, connecting the screen to the inverted tree branches that make up Abenaki Walking.


What I love most about the screen in this season is the interplay of light and shadow. The space between the panels becomes a line on the snow. Sun shining through the clear glass that forms the branches twists them in a dance, shortening some and lengthening others.


Shadows reflect emptiness.
Shadows reflect emptiness, the areas of the glass left clear instead of sand-blasted..


The dogwood blossoms are less distinct under these conditions, but they are there, visible to anyone who looks with open eyes.


say something
The gradations of light and dark add a new dimension to an already gorgeous piece of art.


Bare branches on the screen are wonderful. Bare branches on the yews, planted to suggest columns supporting a ceiling for the Upper Room, are not. Hungry deer flattened themselves to pancakes and slid under the fence. Now every bit of green on the yews is gone.


Deer found a way through what we thought was an impenetrable fence.
Deer found a way under what we thought was an impenetrable fence.


Once the ground is workable, we’ll transplant the yews to our fenced-in vegetable garden, hoping that with time they will recover.  I’ll search for something else to plant in their place. Or possibly I’ll replant yews — they are perfect for what I want in the space — and create some kind of cage to fence them in.

For now, though, I’ll ignore the damage and enjoy the Upper Room for what it is, a place of peace and quiet, where memories live on.



March 5th, 2018 | 25 Comments »
I'm happy to share some very good news -- the Aqueduct at Glen Villa is the winner of the grand prize for design in the residential category at ADIQ, the Quebec industrial designers association.   [caption id="attachment_344" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] A desire to recreate the sounds of the stream beside our old summer cottage was the initial inspiration for The Aqueduct.[/caption]   This prestigious prize recognizes the work of designer and friend Eric Fleury, of the landscape architecture firm, Hodgins and Associates (HETA). The walls and landscaping were the work of  Oscar Hache