Friday, June 20, 2008

My Hillside Stairs

Ever since a visit to the Riviera and Provence, over twenty five years ago, I have wanted to build with stone on hillsides. Ten years ago, when we moved into this house, and when my career was particularly frustrating, I began a terracing project down the hill in our back yard. It kept me sane.

This week I had a day off and I worked a bit too hard in the 90 degree heat. But the result was that I cleaned up the stairs, trimmed the periwinkle that threatened to swallow them and the terraced flower beds at one side, trimmed tree branches, strapped a leaning dogwood to a beech tree to open the way above the stairs, and then took these shots from above and below. Years ago I built the bench in place, with cedar logs and the slats of an old futon.

The cool shade of the stairs and the green terrace lawn I built below them is in strong contrast to the bright June sun of NC in the yard and meadow above and below. My little digital camera had a hard time reconciling such stark differences, and ended up bleaching out everything that was in the sun. I like the effect, though - especially the silhouette of the post oak leaves and gladiolas in the view from below, and the garage side door floating in the whiteness.

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