SACRED PLACES by Christine McKechnie
I am extremely lucky: I live within the sacred places I have found or visit them annually. Of course there are millions of them throughout the world, but these do it for me, and I have to be coerced to seek out others.
Firstly I wake up each day and through my window is the ever changing view of a Suffolk meadow. The resident barn owl might be flying round. I look to see the strength of the wind blowing in the trees, and from the sky what the day might be like.
I live in a typical pink, painted, timber framed, thatched Suffolk cottage set in a garden, with humpy clipped hedges like sculptures, veg. plots surrounded in rabbit netting, outdoor rooms with sitting places. In spring there are the aconites then snow drops in drifts, blue anemones, blue bells, primroses, and cowslips, roses in Summer covering my studio, hollyhocks, fox gloves, poppies, daisies, lillies ferns, and hostas to name a few. Then in autumn the trees are laden with fruit, apples, pears, plums, and quinces, some of those I give to my local favorite restaurant.
And of course outside my cottage, studio and garden is good old Suffolk – its patchwork of hedged corn fields, copses of trees, individual great oaks, the huge skies, and crumbly coast line.
Another place sacred to me is Glyndebourne, and the chalk cliffs of the Sussex coast. Opera to me is singing pictures, and it seems to me that for an experience of perfection a visit to Glyndebourne can contain it all.
I also love the Lake District, the ideal 19thC romantic landscape, its rugged personable skyline, its bleak fells, its lush meadows and woods, its tinkling streams, and gushing water falls, and finally broad placid expanses of water, there shapes etched in my memory.
Lastly if I go abroad I like to go to Italy – Venice preferred; a palazzo apartment in the Arsenale district. I have been going there for some years – I love the quiet, the play of sunlight on the canals, the pattern and textures of the building, local shopping, the friendliness of Venetians, living with Donatello, Carpaccio, and Palladio close by, the contrasting thrill of the lagoon – a huge expanse of threatening yet some how benign water.