how near to good is what is wild / by Laura Kochman

I often think that I should like to have my house front on this mass of dull red bushes, omitting other flower plots and borders, transplanted spruce and trim box, even graveled walks--to have this fertile spot under my windows, not a few imported barrowfuls of soil only to cover the sand which was thrown out in digging the cellar...Bring your sills up to the very edge of the swamp, then (though it may not be the best place for a dry cellar), so that there be no access on that side to citizens. Front yards are not made to walk in, but, at most, through, and you could go in the back way. Yes, though you may think me perverse, if it were proposed to me to dwell in the neighborhood of the most beautiful garden that ever human art contrived, or else of a Dismal Swamp, I should certainly decide for the swamp.

- Thoreau, "Walking"

 

It's funny to read this after just reading Cole Swensen's Greensward (and, a while back, Ours). She is so into the contrived, constructed garden space, the formal walkways and mapping of landscape. Every blade of grass the same length. An aesthetics of nature at right angles, geometric.