The Ivy Wall

At the back of the Art Museum there was a neglected walled in garden. Overgrown, with one sad gargoyle overlooking it all, it attracted painters to its ivy clad brick back wall.  Some painters came back again and again to paint the wall at dawn, in full sun, at dusk, in winter, in the lushest growth of a wet summer. This small group of seven ivy wall enthusiasts called themselves The Ivy League.

On Midsummer Eve three days before Christmas the Ivy League gathered for the final time to paint the ivy wall. After Christmas the museum and its garden were being demolished to make way for brand spanking new apartment blocks. They had fought the council but the museum was not heritage listed and they had lost. This final painting session was a good bye, a last hurrah.

They painted from morning till dusk. They captured the changing light as it played across the ivy and the cracks in the brick wall. They painted each individual ivy leaf. They painted the vine, the tendrils, the veins on each leaf. Still not satisfied they began to paint the ivy’s subatomic structure. Protons, neutrons and elusive electrons never before seen by man. They painted quarks and the space between quarks. They painted the shadow of the ivy. They kept on painting.

When the builders came to demolish the garden, the garden would not let them in. The garden, though empty, exuded malevolence. The developer barged his way in not believing their stories of evil. He soon returned, spluttering about ivy and walls. The garden was not to be touched.

People moved in to the new apartments. Children played in the local playground, but never in the garden. No one went into the garden. No painter came to capture the play of light upon the ivy-strewn wall. Somewhere in an echo of time the Ivy League was still painting the beauty of the dark spaces within the ivy on the wall, leaving no room for anyone else.

Copyright April 2013


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