The Five Elements
As I sit and write this evening, I can’t help but gaze over the top of my computer screen at the dense foliage that is laid out before me. The rich shades of green are mesmerizing. The large thick trees serve as a backdrop for my private oasis; protecting me from any potentially prying neighborly eyes. The mini forest is like a boundary, which even I cannot cross, literally coming to the edge of my deck. If I were to lean over the wire railing to reach for a branch, I easily could tumble over and roll down to the creek below. And yet, this fortress is far from being a prison.
I am accompanied by nature’s orchestra; a steady stream of croaking and chirping noises from unseen creatures…frogs, cicadas, grasshoppers, birds and others…all of whom seem to be coming out to play as darkness descends. To complement them, “Soundscapes” – background music from a cable channel – is emanating from the outdoor speakers. I am only fifteen minutes from a bustling city, but you’d never know it from here.
This is a Zen-like private escape. A sanctuary. A resort I yearn for, even from more exotic ones afar. Here, I breathe and meditate. It is in this place I feel most calm, relaxed, creative, optimistic…at peace.
It was Adriana, my landscape architect, who insisted on incorporating the Five Elements into this beautiful setting. She was excited and wide-eyed upon seeing the space. I admitted to her, a bit embarrassed, that I didn’t understand what she was talking about. (I read about the elements in Dan Brown’s, The Da Vinci Code, but what did all that have to do with my yard?) Wasn’t she hired to advise on planting plants?
She explained the ancient Chinese philosophy. The elements are: Wood (decking and woods, check!); Water (pool, check!); Earth (soil in a small island and potted plants, check!); Metal (patio furniture and the deck railing, check!); and Fire (citronella candles and a fire table, check!!) Although they have very different characteristics and associations, the five elements are believed to be fundamental to all interactions and relationships between things in the universe. They feed off each other in ways that are generating (creative or nurturing) or overcoming (destructive or hostile); a yin and yang type of concept. Part of Fengshui Theory, blending the five elements can align one’s life and create positive energy. It also should bring good luck…and who can get enough of that?!
This week marked a year since we sold and closed on our last house. It’s hard to believe how much has changed since then.
Go ahead and laugh, but I’m convinced this new home has special powers or at least some sort of energy that flows from its design. Maybe it really is tied to the Five Elements. Regardless, it has enabled me to build new relationships; deepen friendships; and welcome many guests. It has attracted strangers who want to use it in commercials and print ads (a story for another time) or just take a tour. More importantly, it has helped me embrace and adapt to change; a new job, a different lifestyle, and even the passing of a loved one. Living here has filled me with a new sense of joy and possibility; a new base from which to leap.
I just noticed the time. I’ve been rambling. At ten-thirty, it’s still eighty-five degrees and humid. The music is still playing. The stars are twinkling. I suppose it’s time to call it a day.
As I glance over at the infinity lap pool, I note that the water is perfectly still and clear; the teal color complementing the pool’s low gold light. It’s calling me….no one will see if I slip out of my dress and slide into the cool water…a quick dip before bed will feel great…