The week before Trula died, she began spending entire days reclined in her field. Her body would be so still we’d come up closer to be sure she hadn’t left us. A slight movement of her head chasing a loose swallow, or a finger grazing a plucked blade of grass was enough. Tuesday night she had come into the kitchen after a particularly long 12 hours in her field. Her hair disheveled like a bird nest. She looked at a rhubarb stalk on the table and said to us “all this time I’ve never seen the flowers growing, but they’re taller every morning.”
The night has the power to change things. The way we feel, the intensity of sounds, what we imagine. Darkness is a moulding force, and even places we know by heart can undergo a metamorphosis when enveloped by its depths.
In the night of At Night Gardens Grow, various alternative realities seem to coexist: the landscapes we know in the watchful world of day and those we have only imagined converge in these pages. Paul Guilmoth explores the places we have called home and how they haunt us. There are geographies that are folded into our identity, their coordinates inscribed in our inner worlds. The landscape of At Night Gardens Grow is unmistakably etched in the artist’s memory, and with it the people who inhabit it, who move and breathe with it.
Tula’s presence haunts the pages, even though we are told nothing about her beyond a concise dedication at the beginning of the book. At Night Gardens Grown is a kind of representation of her last night on earth: a prolonged, ghostly, definitive immersion of Trula in the landscape.