Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Is it spring yet?

The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment

Tehachapi is not known for an easy or speedy spring. While most of California basks in early flowers, Tehachapi is whipped with winds and a threat of frost for those impatient to plant gardens early. Today as I look outside, the bushes at my windows have finally budded, the row of poplars across the street are resounding like ocean waves as winds rush through their fresh new leaves and last but not least, the mighty oaks have lazily stretched their limbs accepting the inevitable. Spring has sprung.

Dreaming of gardens for the last few weeks, I looked for books that could temper my spring fever. The historical romance of Catherine Ogden in "The Seeing Garden," written by Ginny Kubitz Moyer, brings the reader back to the year 1910 when the rolling hills around San Francisco were lightly sprinkled with grand mansions and rich occupants. Catherine, a ward of her aunt and uncle, is expected to marry well. Though thankful for their care and upbringing, she cannot help but want freedom from a life of expectations. Then bachelor William Brandt entices her heart through the beauty of his sprawling estate.

The descriptions of Brandt's gardens and the surrounding California hillsides are intoxicating, with colors vibrant and the air full of golden light. The lives of the characters in the story are as poignant and hopeful as the California coast in springtime. From the winter of their past, each character is reaching for a rebirth, new growth and attainment of a deep seeded desire. It gets a bit messy, like a stormy spring. But in the end the reader can feel full.

"The Moonlight Gardening Club" by Rosie Hannigan offers a very different kind of garden. Have you ever thought of planting a garden to be complimented by the light of the stars and moon? That inspiration was generated by a group of people who loved gardening but had very busy daylight lives. So they met in their small Irish town at nightfall, in a community garden set aside by the sea. They chose and tended plants with white blooms that could hold moonlight and shine like stars in the night sky.

It wasn't chance that bound these nighttime gardeners together, but rather need. Each with their own history and past challenges, they connect with nature by planting their feet firmly on the soil that they till. Friendships root and grow, dispelling loneliness and lessening heartache. Perhaps the world could benefit from a few more moonlight gardening clubs?

Many prolific and masterful painters set up their easels amongst nature to further capture beauty on canvas. "The Artist's Garden" by Jackie Bennett offers an extraordinary look into 20 gardens used by famous painters, with many of the gardens still in existence and open for public viewing today.

Monet designed his own gardens for inspiration, using the delicate colors of spring flowers and water lilies. He created hundreds of paintings of his gardens and the northern French countryside. Van Gogh left the big cities for the south of France where splashes of golden light invited him to paint rolling hills of grain and rows of sunflowers warming their faces in the sun.

The artists that captured living gardens upon their canvases revealed both the passion of their creativity and a fragile humanity. Tragic, effusive, simple, complicated. Diversity within a still life moment is splayed out in a myriad of colors, shapes and brushstrokes. We can thank Jackie Bennett for directing our attention.

Have you ever thought of planting a garden of your own that holds a secret, tells a story, opens the imagination to new and wondrous things? Perhaps a garden that evokes memories or a garden to honor someone you love? Using unusual plants and colors perhaps, instead of the traditional? Or bringing back the past in a riotous Victorian display? It seems that there are many ways to usher in spring if we open our hearts wide and trust our gardens with a piece of ourselves. The masters in art don't get all the fun or accolades. We also can be the masters of something interesting, provocative, new. Open wide the creative soul of a late Tehachapi spring.

Good Books.

Good reading.

*Midge Lyn'dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.