Duchamp’s The Large Glass has no relevance to the garden, unless we view a garden as a massive installation piece defying the confines of a gallery, which perhaps we should. The title “The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even” resonated in my head while I stripped the German Queen bare to expose her fruit to the sun. After her fall from grace, she needed to be ravaged. All those green tomatoes buried last week may now have a chance to ripen. So many beautiful green promises.
The Large Glass is in fact a piece of art that incorporates time and the natural accumulation of things and unraveling of things; for eight years it was not a static piece but allowed to collect dust and become rather than merely be made like so many lesser works of art. Duchamp planned it that way, not as a painting but as a moment in time, or many moments in many times. On display in Philadelphia, it incorporates the surrounding environment because it is transparent and does not hang on a wall. Have a look: http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/54149.html
It is both a product of chance, and a work that remains unfinished, much like a garden. Good grounding in Dadaist theory may be the only thing that prevents me from throwing in the towel in the garden this year. Or should I say the “trowel?”
Things are definitely not under control. The garden is becoming and will not be made. Cucumber leaves are curling and brown, but the plant is fruiting its ass off. Vines consume the red velvet lettuce, insert a huge shlong into the marigolds, and reach forward with tendrils to commandeer the calendula. I count six cucumbers in this picture; maybe you can find more.
This volunteer from the compost that I expected to be acorn squash is certainly not. Whatever it is, there’s plenty. It makes a new whatever-that-is every foot it grows. How do I find out if it’s edible? Are there random poisonous squash/gourds I should beware of eating? How do I know when it’s ripe?
The garden gods are Dadaists, in love with both science and random chance. How they must laugh. To reward my fidelity to folly, they sent me a gift: my first ever mourning cloak butterfly. I think with practice, I may learn to laugh with them.