My post yesterday dealt with the process of design and installation of the decor for a fundraiser to benefit the Art Academy at Cranbrook. With the donation of my time and effort came an invitation to attend the event. As I do not always get the chance to see how what I have planned works or doesn’t work, I looked forward to being a guest. Much of the success of any party in a garden relies upon its thoughtful lighting. An event with the word moonlight in its title made the notion of lighting the night the centerpiece of our design. Our first bit of timely cooperation from nature-as dusk approached, the rainy skies cleared to reveal the full moon. Be advised the date of the full moon this July had been researched by the committee, and the date for the event was set accordingly.
The benefactor tables surrounding the upper level Orpheus fountain glowed with the soft light from hundreds of votive candles set on their surfaces. The white tablecloths, umbrellas, garden flowers,the costumes of the dance troup and water reflected light in every direction. This kind of romance makes people feel good.
The votive-lit lanterns skimming the surface of the Triton pools were repeated ingound, lighting the path from the entrance to the event, to its center. Designing and creating a walk to the event gave every guest the chance to shift their visual gears from their every day landscape to this specially made and momentary landscape. This transition helps to build anticipation for the event; when I have the idea I am going to enjoy something, I usually do.
The relationship of still water, spouting water,and glowing spheres took on an entirely different and dramatic aspect after dusk. I did not expect to see so many guests photographing what they saw on cell phones, but I was very pleased none the less. The majority of these photographs, taken by Jason Ruff, are a considerable addition to my memory of the garden that night.
I had not thought about the fact that the level of glow the one votive candle tucked into each sphere would vary greatly given the size of that sphere. That variation in light level proved especially beautiful – courtesy of a little physics via the umbrella we call nature.
As the evening wore on, the intensity of light emitted from the spheres, and the diminishing ability to gauge the water level gave the impression that all the spheres were floating on, or hovering over the water.
The reflection of the spheres in the still water made it seem like the spheres were multiplying. The water, the weather, and the light acting on those spheres made this event. How weather acts on a landscape is a critical factor in its success. I do my best work when I am paying attention to that.
Of course there would be music, dining and dancing. The bidding on the art at auction was brisk; people were enjoying themselves. It was such a pleasure seeing the Triton pools, and their sculptures at night.
The perfect moment that night? The coming of the frogs. Late in the evening, the spheres were host to many hundreds, maybe thousands, of frogs. They gravitated to the spheres, and took up residence. Everyone could hear them singing, before anyone spotted where they were perched. Some said the rhythm of that singing matched the rhythm of the music; I choose to believe that was so.
I learned plenty about my place in the big scheme of things that night. No one could have invited the frogs, but that they came is what made that night unforgettable.