Woman Gone Wild

Travel, photography, adventure

Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden

Africa, TravelNicole Duncan

Stay Lost. Two words. Stay lost. 

Being lost is scary. It is the thing we fear most as children. Finding ourselves without the security of our mother’s hand to hold. Alone. Unable to find our way home. Unsafe. The wild things clawing at our hems, crying in the darkness as the shadows come to carry us away.  Lost. Alone. Unsafe. 

For the last year, I’ve been lost. My children growing up and gone. My career in tatters. Friendships I thought were forever revealed to be more toxic than Love Canal. A geopolitical situation that makes me weep. A planet in peril.  

My husband happily embraced his next phase of life while I have been stumbling around in the woods, unable, maybe unwilling, to find my way forward. It’s dark and frightening. The glimpses of sunlight through the trees proving to be illusions. No light through the tunnel of trees. Just a sense of hopelessness. 

Stay lost.  

It’s an odd thing to say to someone on parting. Stay lost. Is it a blessing or a curse? 

I keep trying to find a path and getting tangled in brambles, tripped by the undergrowth. If we stay in the woods in demons and witches come. The wild things have a rumpus. We’re meant to find our way out of the forest to the safety of home and hearth. 

The stultifying safety of home and hearth. Sameness. Soul crushing complacency.  

Stay lost. Embrace the wild. Glory in the journey. Exalt in the period of change and discovery. 

Stay lost.  

Perhaps this seems an odd post on a travel blog, but Dylan's blessing as we left his sculpture garden is the perfect summary of our African journey. Words that those of us determined to travel through life, physically and spiritually, need to remember. If all we do is tick the boxes on the bucket list, we aren't travelers but tourists in our own lives and the places we go. 

The tension between the natural wild world and the civilized society, our inner and outer lives, is evident in the sculpture and gardens Dylan has created outside of Stellenbosch. The gardens runs up to the mountains behind, manicured spaces, contrasted with the wild.

Over 60 sculptures constituting a comprehensive record of Lewis's full artistic development thus far have been carefully placed in harmony with the landscape: the human form, shamanic figures, monumental abstracted fragments and his iconic great cats. Along four kilometres of paths, one is led on a journey through different 'rooms', from the heather hills dominated by earthy male images to the meditative poplar grove with its sensual female torsos. 

The garden focuses on indigenous species, particularly fynbos. Although planted to give year-round colour, it peaks in July and August into September, when its many buchus and ericas are in fragrant flower. A large selection of ericas, particularly unusual varieties such as Erica verticillata, extinct in the wild, was sourced from Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. The influence of the Japanese gardens and the Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetic is evident in the minimalist, sculptural design of this garden, its ellipses and curves, its sense of spirituality and acceptance of transience and imperfection. http://www.dylanlewis.co.za/sculpture-garden/garden.php

Dylan’s creative touch is not just in the sculpture but in every line of the garden. It is a place to think and wonder. The perfect ending to our African journey.