As the end of the year approaches, I’m thinking about transitions. In the context of gardens, transitions are often linked to paths. Paths lead you somewhere, either literally or metaphorically. They take you through different landscapes — meadows, forests, open fields — whose settings evoke different moods. They come in all shapes and sizes — grassy and gravel, broad and narrow, straight and curved. One path may lead to a specific place, another to nowhere in particular and yet a third to someplace unknown, a future waiting to be discovered.
Anyone visiting Glen Villa, my garden in Quebec, can walk for hours on the paths we’ve cut. One of the first I made led through the garden and into the woods and fields that surround us. One part of this path ran parallel to the drive, towards what would become the China Terrace.
Over the years we’ve cut more paths. One covered with wood chips leads through the fern woods, past memory posts I painted to honour my father and brother-in-law.
Another path strewn with leaves leads into the woods.
Some paths are lined with flowers.
Others are lined with trees.
Some are straight…
… others gently curved.
Some paths are sunny and cheerful…
… others darkly mysterious.
The newest path is The Avenue, a double line of crabapple trees we planted in November. It leads straight through the field, to a springtime of bloom.
Or so I hope.
But I can’t be sure. Because not all paths lead straight ahead. Some take us in circles, returning us to the place we started. Some take us to places we’d rather not see, others to sights that surprise and delight.
The journey is the thing. It can stretch our minds as well as our legs. And surely that is part of the pleasure.