My boys and I set out today on another quest to find the unexpected. I had seen our destination in the past but wanted to learn more. We parked near the university and crossed the street to take a closer look at the circular sculpture in front of us. My boys took off running across the field as they spotted a plaque that may give us a clue.
We read the plaque and learned that the sculpture was created by Joe Fafard in 1997 and that it is called Le Jardin de L’Esprit or the Mind’s Garden. We continued on until we were in the centre of the Mind’s Garden. We looked all around and there was beauty in all directions. The road near by was quite busy so there was a continuous roar of traffic that took away from the serenity that could be felt here. Also my youngest son, Caius was in a grumpy mood because he was feeling cold, so that also took away from the serenity of this place.
We discovered a circle in the centre of the sculpture. Cohen noticed that the directions of North, South, East and West were on the circle.
We also noticed that if you looked directly from each direction, the sculpture had an open space. What could this represent? The space seemed to almost act like a frame capturing the beauty of nature as a living photograph.
As we looked at each panel of the sculpture, images of animals, such as, a horse, a polar bear, a goose, an elephant looked back at us. We also noticed inanimate objects such as a boat, a teepee and a tractor, within the artwork. There must be a story that these images are trying to tell us. There were many images and forms that we didn’t understand, that we couldn’t make out. Cohen thought that the panels were made from bronze. We felt the strong structure with our hands and noticed the intricate details that Fafard had expertly crafted into his art.
This place had directional beauty, as we turned to face the four directions we were in awe. Just outside of the sculpture was the lake and the university. This place was a combination of natural and man made elements almost competing for attention. The towering buildings of the institution, the roaring cars of humanity, the strong bronze of the sculpture and the natural beauty of the lake, all owning the space, all speaking in their own ways. This place did not have the relaxing effect on us that other creative practice moments have had. Why was that? Was it our hurried day, was it our own attitudes, was it the sounds around us? I’m not sure what it was today. Even though we did not feel the calm that nature usually brings us, my boys and I were able to appreciate the Mind’s Garden. The panels of the sculpture were a garden for our minds, allowing us to think beyond ourselves and imagine what these images were teaching us.