From water, dreams, art

“THERE is found in widely separated parts of Australia a belief in a huge serpent, which lives in certain pools or water-holes. This serpent is associated, and sometimes identified, with the rainbow. In many instances, it is also associated with quartz-crystal, doubtless from the prismatic colours visible in the latter. Now rock-crystal, in a great number of Australian tribes, is regarded as a substance of great magical virtue,” wrote the late English anthropologist, Alfred Radcliffe-Brown, in “The Rainbow-Serpent Myth of Australia.”

This photo series records a glimmering recent incarnation of the rainbow serpent, or dream snake, in the Australian garden at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden. Commissioned in 2008, the project was overseen by Arboretum artist-in-residence Leigh Adams, who gives a gripping account of the dream snake legend at her website. “Before all this was here, there was dreaming, only dreaming

The Dry Garden: Don’t fence me in

The iconic images of Los Angeles sold to the world typically involve palm trees, beaches and freeways. Those of us who live here, however, know that the true symbol of Southern California is probably a fence. Fences are everywhere. Chain link fences, wrought iron fences, barbed wire fences. Brick, cinderblock, and river rock fences. There is so much redwood fencing that it’s a wonder there are any redwoods left.

Leaving aside how ironic it is that there should be outcry about a proposed fence for the home of the mayor of the city of fences, what is rarely considered in our highly framed world is what all this fencing does to plants. This is worth addressing because that impact is profound.

Click here to keep reading The Dry Garden in the Los Angeles Times.