On 4 July 1776, the United States was born, declaring its independence and freedom from British rule. One complete Uranus cycle later, on 12 April 1861 at 4:30 am, the first shots of what would be a long and bloody battle rang out in the spring air at Fort Sumter, North Carolina. The Civil War–and the ugliest chapter of American history– had begun. Standing as one of the central issues of this terrible war was slavery. By the time the war had ended, Abraham Lincoln and some 630,000 American soldiers were dead, the highest number of casualities killed in any war in US History.
It is on this grim war and its survivors that Margaret Mitchell based her best-selling, Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Gone With the Wind (published in 1936). Set in the pre-war Old South, Mitchell writes about the fictional life of one of literature’s and the silver screen’s most memorable heroines, Scarlett O’Hara. Scarlett was a sixteen year-old girl living on her father’s plantation when the war broke out. The 1000- page plus, doorstopper of a novel chronicles her life as she struggled not only for her own survival but also for that of her family and other household members (slaves) as they fought off Yankees. Running parallel to this storyline is Scarlett’s rather tumultuous love life (she was married three times) and most famously, the love triangle between Scarlett, Ashley Wilkes and the dashing Captain Rhett Butler.
“If the novel has a theme it is that of survival,” said Mitchell when Gone With the Wind was published. “What makes some people able to come through catastrophes and others, apparently just as able, strong and brave, go under? It happens in every upheaval. Some people survive; others don’t. What qualities are in those who fight their way through triumphantly that are lacking in those who go under… ? I only know that the survivors used to call that quality ‘gumption.’ So I wrote about the people who had gumption and the people who didn’t.”
It is interesting that Mitchell based her blockbuster on the losers of the Civil War, the Southern Confederates rather than the popular winners, the Northern Yankees. But then, as we shall see, Margaret Mitchell was no ordinary woman. Even more interesting is the divided opinion that the book and subsequent movie provokes: is Gone With the Wind one of the greatest love stories of all time or is it the most racist book–with its southern sympathies and portrayal of simple, happy slaves–ever published?
Perhaps for this reason, avid readers have failed to notice that Gone With the Wind is, as Neil Spencer describes: “a thinly disguised astrological allegory. Margaret Mitchell based the characters of her torrid epic on the zodiac, leaving a blatant trail of clues which were only picked up in 1978 when US astrologer Darrell Martinie was shown photocopies of notes from Mitchell’s library.”
Mitchell, using the Civil War as a backdrop, displayed these strong, memorable characters in a potent zodiacal parade …
Planning and landscaping a garden is fun and adds so much enjoyment and beauty to your home. While we usually think of landscaping as planning the placement of our flowers and plants, choosing our flowers and plants and then getting everything planted, another part of planning your garden should be considering what kind of garden furniture may be included in the landscaping of your garden.
What better way to enjoy your garden than to provide seating in various areas of your garden. Garden benches can be strategically placed to provide seating in the most beautiful areas of your garden. Place a garden bench in a sunny area for enjoying your garden in the Winter, Spring and Autumn. For enjoyment during the Summer, choose a nice shady place. This will maximize the seating for year-round enjoyment of your garden. There are many styles of benches that you can purchase; wave benches, backless benches, market benches, quarter-round benches and arbor benches. Quarter-round benches make perfect seating when placed at the base of a tree. If your garden has very little shade, an arbor bench will provide some shade and seating, as well as a place for vining plants to wind their way upward.
Another way to enjoy your garden is placing swings throughout your garden. A garden swing or Pergola swing would be an excellent addition to your garden. Swings provide comfortable seating and a wonderful place to laze away the time on a beautiful day. A porch swing can also provide seating for enjoying your garden. Porch swings and garden swings have a long history of bringing family and friends together. Don’t forget to include them in your landscaping plans.
Another nice way to enjoy your garden is to provide an area for garden dining with family and friends using wood outdoor tables, chairs and market tables. Outdoor wood tables, chairs and market tables come in a variety of sizes and styles and are excellent for garden dining. Many wood outdoor tables and chairs will also fold for easy storage if you prefer to put them away when not in use. If your garden does not have much shade, most wood outdoor tables come with an option for an umbrella hole. A colorful umbrella will add shade and additional beauty to your garden.
When you purchase your wood garden furniture, you want to get furniture made from wood that is durable, long lasting, weather resistant and rot resistant. Western Red Cedar and Java Plantation Indonesian Teak are two of the most popular woods that meet all the criteria for garden furniture. Not only are both these woods weather resistant, rot resistant, insect resistant, and long lasting, they are almost maintenance free. All of this in a wood that is also beautiful and elegant, making Western Red Cedar and Indonesian Teak outdoor furniture most desirable for the garden.…