Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Burial At Ornans

In Courbet's painting "A Burial at Ornans" he speaks, metaphorically, of the death of Romanticism and the rise of Realism.

This is the soil profile at the Fort Tilden community garden. I grew up with this soil, with one great exception: the topsoil was about 2 inches deep instead of 10. Beneath it -pure sand.

Its easy to fall into a lazy romanticism regarding a place like this.

Its forlorn weediness, bleached wood picket, tattered rags on string.

Everyone one I ask, gardeners here and the park officials running the place, say its active.

But I see few signs of any real activity, real work, real commitment.

This corner has the most activity. Every time I visited, this corner had a gardener present.

The same corner hosts a poke. Behind it, a manure pile.

By the time we rap this corner, forlorn once again.

I asked where the compost pile was.
Oh, we had that removed.
Really, why?
Did you see them?
We found nibbles on our beans.


I have added my name to the wait list for a plot at this community garden. I'm told there are many ahead of me. Yet, despite their insistence, I find little evidence of committed activity. They, respectfully, disagree -you're seeing it in October after all. It looks like people plant some basil and tomatoes and never come back. I'm hoping a well-placed phone call will land me a spot. Won't this be most interesting...


  1. You want we should rustle up some muscle? :-) Do they not know who you are? Or how high their weeds are, and how long it takes to get that way?

    That soil is something. Later cake.

  2. Um...make that layer cake; or...Later, Cake?


    Later? Cake!!!!! or just

    Later, cake.



  3. Wary I might seem the lonesome muscle strollin on in to town. Awe, schucks, though- sure is nice a you to offer.

    The woman who feared the rats was new to gardening.

    On some level I am interested in the run-down aesthetics. But I will be hard pressed to allow that in my allotment. I contacted the unit coordinator today (er, left a message) in hopes of sliding up the list.

    I need some new experiences though, so fingers crossed.

    Is that Beef or Cheese? Cake. Smiles.

  4. Well, I hope you get one of those plots soon. I'm wondering if they deserve you, though!

    Last week I strolled by our community garden and noticed lots of produce just rotting and hanging off the vines unharvested. What are people thinking?!

  5. since when do rats like grass, weeds, or vegetables, unless they are covered in some oil? good heavens. even squirrels aren't interested in my compost. too much better pickin's near by.

    good luck. it can be maddening to see such waste. maybe you can collect info from the lone gardener you see. most people like to talk & you can get good info from them.

  6. Jeez, eveybody's so nice! Well, I admit I was attracted to it for its run down nature and thought it bit of a blank canvas.

    Rats don't much care for vegetable compost. Especially out there, no kitchen scraps even! I hate that mentality, it comes with no sense of observation. Just compost bad, why, rats. Anyone who cries rats, I'm usually very suspicious of their thinking.

    As if there is no other creatures that might nibble on a strawberry or bean!

    The first lone gardener claimed no english. The second was the one who told me about the rats. She also wanted me to get the plot near hers because it was, well, near hers and filled with weeds.

    I'd rather grow veggies in the earth and this place has openings unlike many other community gardens. Plus its on the beach!

    Thanks guys. I'll follow up...

  7. Oh the run downness is beautiful and very painterly, but we're just arguing for you that no one is gardening there, should.

    Glad we straightened that out.

  8. this is a weird way to say good bye to somthing, but in ar all is possible, I like the way in that many times, a artist express their feeling about something, and this is one of those case.


If I do not respond to your comment right away, it is only because I am busy pulling out buckthorn, creeping charlie, and garlic mustard...