A Painful Botanical Garden

The house that artists-in-residence live in is cut off from the woods by netted iron wire fences.


The fences are not high; they reach the height of my waist. Still, they are difficult to climb over even if I stand on my toes. For those who have never tried this before – I don’t believe it is hard to imagine the pain in one’s hipbones from sitting on a thin iron wire.


Despite this, on my first day there, without finding any entrance to the field, I flipped over the net with my curiosity.


But it only happened once. Soon after, I was told that the wire was electrified. I have also found a gate with a little hook, but it only opens up to a small area, with more iron wire fences again after a few feet. Knowing that the wires are full of electricity, I have never dared to even touch them anymore.


Since then, I’ve only walked in that small area.


It’s hard to tell whether it was worthwhile to flip over like that the other day. I remember it was sunny at one moment before sudden clouds covered the sky. It was a windy day. I was shaking with a cup of already-cold coffee in my hand, pretending to be poetically embraced by the greenery sea. Well, although ‘the poetic’ was but a self-disguise, I was inarguably content.


I enjoy wholeness and security only by being alone.  Nevertheless, it is safe to be in a daze, happier or sadder, mumbling or simply looking at one’s surroundings. There will be no other eyes witnessing or presuming, disturbing any of my behaviors using language or even existence. I, as well, do not have to explain, to describe where I am from, or to make up where I am going – no so-called future plans that I myself would not want to believe.


I wonder, had I investigated more carefully, if I would have certainly found the real entrance somewhere farther away.


But I didn’t.


Because what I love is not the fields, not the mountains, and I must admit that I have never liked any of those insects. They are everywhere, always. I can even find them on my wet canvas. The incredibly slow Internet speed has also touched my soul.  What I am deeply in love with is life in the city. I am intoxicated with what lovers of the countryside hate: fancy restaurants and online games.


But I do love this temporary freedom. It is no doubt untrue and a kind of escape. The time that I can stay in this unpeopled field – this ‘Shangri-La’ – is finite. I try to breathe as deeply as I can, as it counts down.


We have been forever blaming technology for making the world an impure place to live. But society has to progress, and human beings have to make mistakes while they move forward. It’s like fish swimming, quickly, fearfully, knowing that prey may catch them at any time.


Isn’t our desire for nature, for freedom, a gift made possible by the fast-paced development of cities and the improvement of our living standards?


That Shangri-la, it’s neither there, nor elsewhere on earth. A manmade ‘Botanic Garden’ might be a better metaphor. It wouldn't be easy to even find an entrance to get in. If you try to flip over the fences surrounding it, you will only be left with pain and the illusory.


And you have to get out.