In Andrew’s epistle from the Hortis’ garden tour to Vancouver, he cited Bobbi Feyerabend’s distinction, gardens sin alma and gardens con alma. “I think we might have to establish an Alma scale,” Bobbi wrote responding to an email asking her to elaborate, “something like Alma Numerica, 1 to 10, 10 being Toda Alma and 1, Sin Alma. The grotto at the top of the Villa Lante would rate a 10, dripping with moss, rich with age and emotion. Hearst Castle would get a 2, as a prime example, albeit splendid, of casa pretensiosa. There might be parts of gardens which rate differently of course.”
Subjectivity, too, will do its mischief. Even a garden overwhelmingly obviously alma-full like the Villa Lante might be seen as boring to somebody in sensible shoes for a want of purple petunias. All that creepy moss. Is it soul or is it taste? I have friends who liked The English Patient. Are they deficient in both? (Probably.)
And there’s the matter of temporality. Yesterday late in the afternoon the sunlight found a new, autumnal angle, catching the weeping spruce from below. Breathtaking. This morning the breathtaking thing is the amount of leaves needing to be raked.
Cuerpo, sin o con alma.
Ghost towns 8 Suburbs 2
Big Night (movie) 9 The Unbearable Lightness of Being 1
San Francisco Victorians 7 Bauhaus 3
Jung 6 Freud 4
Beehive 6.5 Comb-over 3.5
The haircut I give myself 5 The haircut I pay $10 for 5