Tuesday, 5 February 2008

The Art of Growing Houses in Todos Santos


Those of you who have not recently visited the previously wide open spaces of Las Tunas and beyond, will be certain to be surprised when next you come to Todos Santos. There has been a land rush over the past few years, and the landscape is now peppered with the results of this bonanza cash crop. Perhaps the traditional view of what agriculture and arts mean to Todos Santos needs to change to reflect these new realities?

Artistic Interpretations

Where cultivation was once deemed marginal
In sad abandoned chili fields
Or stony slopes of rocky desert
New owners mark their territory
And plant the seeds of their new crop

Drawing sustenance not from sweet water,
But from their owner’s dreams and aspirations,
Their germinating houses rend the ground noisily
Reaching from the earth
But blatantly not of the earth

Tended by the same workers
Who cared for the ghosts of chili plants long gone
The new crop climbs trellises of rebar
Sprouting walls, floors, roofs
And sometimes minarets and gargoyles
Orienting themselves, jostling possessively for position
Not to draw energy from the sun
But towards the new source of bounty
The Ocean View

And as they ripen individually
Colours reflecting their owner’s tastes
They make concrete
A cornucopia of interpretations
Of a Baja house by the sea

Here is Santa Fe living quietly with New York loft
Humble space for living
Beside ostentatious decadence
Storybook cottage or whimsical dream
Neighbored by stark modernity
All counterpointed by the sad utilitarian look
Of houses grown to harvest unknown buyers

And as I gaze on this eclectic new crop
Baking under the hot sun
I suddenly realize
How well it reflects the nature of community here
And how the tourist description
Of an agricultural town housing an artists colony
Is both right and misunderstood
The new crop itself
The new form of artistic expression
In Todos Santos.

1 comment:

Laura in Colorado said...

Beautifully written- I was in Todos Santos for a few hours in December and am thinking of coming back later this year. I will be watching your blog.