House Siting: GO HOME

Pay attention.

Start by noticing. Start with the land, with the field, start with that drift of milkweed, monarch magnet, with the flattened grass ovals of deer beds; start with the lupine near the ledge outcrop, protected from the bush hog blades by the jagged stone or maybe by the mower’s annual remembering, his choosing to turn wide around that small blue stand of Maine wildflower. Start with those two sentinel apple trees, remnant of an orchard row, traces of other, earlier, hands on the land. Or start with the collapsing stonewalls bounding the field, the Ashes and Maples and Shadblow growing up through those tumbled lines, widening trunks dismantling over generations the carefully stacked harvest of winter frosts and spring plows. Evidence of habitation: who’s been here, who’s here now. Evidence of labor: landform expressing technology and intention and, when the work stops, wildlife’s swift re-occupation.

 

Move. Follow the paths that rainwater takes through the field towards the woods at the bottom of the slope. Feel the topography in your gait, long strides through tall grass on shallow slopes, small stumbles when knees soften in low spots, eddies of sedges marking depressions and swales where water is held longer, draining slowly into the soil. At the edge of the woods turn around, look back up the slope to where you started, eyes now level with the road, body a register of distance and the change in elevation. Circle the field, inscribing a path, feeling for that charged place between edge and open where structure can engage transition.

 

For more on GO Home, click here.

 

Old Field - Lupine, Hawkweed, Orchard Grass

field before construction, view to east

field before construction, view to west

 

© Ann Kearsley – Maine Landscape Architect. All rights reserved.   /   58 Fore Street   /   Portland, ME 04101   /   207 756 8899