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Greeks thought that firstly there was chaos. Bible claims that at the beginning there was a word, whereas the Slavs thought that the light, see and the God in the shape of swan called Svetovid were at the very beginning of the world.
As a traveler, I can deduct that a chaos is described as variety of world, people, cultures. Last five years I spent on visiting Asia’s countries. Thanks to these experiences I was able to precise my thoughts and to say properly a word “garden”. An idea I got during these trips was to change chaos into harmony, shout into silence, to work creatively on this land. A life without experiences is like a journey without “existing”.
Nowadays, life forces us to live very fast, we make quick pictures, while sightseeing we do not really think of the history of particular objects, we sleep in hotels with air conditioning not realizing the conditions of life of people living around us. We travel only to see something new, not necessarily to learn. During three-months time spent in India, I met Sai Baba (usually, people need to wait about four years to meet him) and realized how important are a moment and a contemplation. Leśny Gród was a great challenge for me, I wanted to “catch the moment” there, wanted this place to be the very best to contemplate about the world, life and ourselves. Nature and its diversity make us be more thoughtful, help in relaxing, and – what’s the most important – nature is an unquestionable symbol of beauty. While creating this garden, I wanted to plant there various kinds of plants including oriental and exotic flora. Last year we planted over 500’000 bulbs, which will grow in different seasons of the year. We have here variety of birds, peacocks, pheasants, turtles, frogs, etc.
During my trip to India I met also Dalai Lama suffering from ulcers in a hospital. It made me wonder how and why such a person, a leader of Buddhists, a symbol of calmness and peace, can suffer from an illness of developed civilizations.
Later, when being in Vietnam, I was terrified when saw how communism can destroy Buddhism. The things I have learnt there made me think of creating the sculptures corresponding with Eastern culture and tradition and being a symbol of calmness directly connected with Buddhists. Thanks to living among these people I could learn they way of thinking, calmness and joy despite widespread poverty. Amazingly, we, people living in civilized regions of the world, for whom security and rules are one of the most important aspects, have so big problems with enjoying our lives, being grateful and tolerant. For such people, achieving calmness is possible only after taking sleeping pills and antidepressants. Similar attitude one may easily find in the richer parts of Asia, mainly Hong Kong and Taiwan, where so called “rat race” seems to be the most important goal of people living there. Therefore, my main idea while creating this garden was to make a peaceful area in order to convince our guests to relax, forget about day-to-day activities, and – at the same time – learn about new, foreign cultures. However, I could not forget about our Slav origin. Therefore, my last idea was to create the Svetovid – a symbol of Polish origin and tradition – that at the same time is a reminiscence of Taj Mahal. With this sculpture I want people to be aware of their origins, I want them to take care of their own tradition. All the time, we try to implement various foreign holidays to our tradition (for example Valentines Day or Halloween). This idea makes us forget about such traditional holidays as Midsummer’s eve, when girls were searching for fern flower that blossoms only once. According to a traditional tale, the one who founds such a flower, is lucky and rich. Therefore Svetovid is to be a connection between nowadays life and pagan beliefs that are a form of dialogue with today’s world. Today’s Perun is a symbol of people’s anxieties, dreams and phobias. This sculpture should be a replica of beliefs and views of Slavic people.
Frequently Asked Questions by our visitor
vs. the main purpose of our garden.
Grzegorz Śleziak: On this website I would like to answer to the most frequently asked questions I have heard from our visitors. Why the garden was created? There were many factors that had a great impact on this. In my opinion, one of the most important aspects of people’s lives is their childhood. It is when a particular person is an excellent observer of everything that takes place around him, when both positive and negative emotions start to emerge… Childhood is a period of time which majority of us longs for. Taking into consideration this fact, I may assume that my childhood was one of the main factors that made me create this garden. I was raised in a city, however every summer I spent at my grandmother’s house, in a village called Kamesznica. There, I tended and milked cows, took part in foals and calves deliveries, I could see how the chicken hatch, which was a fantastic experience for me. Thanks to that I precisely know what farmers’ hard-work mean. Not once, not twice I saw my grandfather fighting with weather in order to protect his hay, scything the field.
Recently I have traveled around the world, and have visited many unusual places: both developed and developing ones. I have seen both hard-working people and these for whom the greatest success is to have the very best sport car, several mistresses and a swimming pool. Such a lifestyle was immediately rejected by me. I do not fancy watching TV (excluding watching the news), and the money I spent on creating this garden could be easily spent on building a couple of bars, where one can only drink beer. Then I could earn a lot of money by making bar’s guests unhappy (as majority of young people drinking alcohol do not really realize how harmful can abusing alcohol be for their health and character). I did choose different path of life – without BMWs and swimming pools. All of the things I do are a result of my imagination and fantasies. It brings me joy and happiness. I would like my garden to be free of charge for it’s visitors. Unfortunately, the costs connected with taking care of the garden and perfecting it are so big that it is impossible to do so. The expenses on the garden are whole-yearly, and the garden is open for visitors only for six months.
While creating this garden for seven years, I realized that owning places as gardens, zoos, is not very profitable activity. They are often funded by municipalities. For over twenty years I was selling the equipment saving people’s lives (produced by Swiss companies: Microlife or Boneco). It was among others: nebulizers, humidifiers, thermometers, etc. I am mentioning that because I am often asked how I raised funds to open this garden. Was my earlier life connected with mafia or illegal actions? No. An idea of creating such a place grew while being in India and visiting Sai Baba. I wanted to meet him in order to check if he is a charlatan or not and why so many people (around 100’000 every day) come there just to see and meet him. I was curious whether it is true that he gave birth to a golden egg that came out of his mouth or that he gives golden coins to the people. While being there, I went to see Sai Baba. It was 3 a.m. and thousands of pilgrims were kneeling till 7 a.m.. Me, when kneeling in seventh row, was chosen by Sai Baba himself to speak to him face to face. As the only one from so many pilgrims, I did not have any piece of paper with favors and wishes listed. I still can easily recall Sai Baba: very thin man in orange tunic with amazingly strong sight. During this meeting I told Sai Baba about my doubts in his abilities and about my expectations towards him. At the end of this conversation he told me that it is me to whom many pilgrims will be coming in the future. Then I didn’t really know that I will create my garden. Today, 5 months after opening the garden, when already 32000 guests visited my garden, I still look back to the past and recall this meeting. A meeting, which gave me a huge amount of positive experience. I talked there with people from all over the world, doing yoga on the roof of a building at 7 a.m., met Slovak and Czech people who had received golden coins from Sai Baba, I was eating at the canteen, where a regular meal costs 1 zloty, where volunteers from all over the world were cooking for free for the pilgrims. It’s a special place, where one forgets about day-to-day problems and can contemplate about the past, present and future. The Feng Shui inspired design of our flowers and plants stimulates the imagination and gives an extraordinary impression and experience. While designing this garden I used untypical combinations of for example an Apple-tree (a symbol of fertility) and a Yew (a symbol of longevity). The garden was designed in a natural way. It is a reminiscence of my childhood spent in the country, of unfulfilled loves… It is an image of my imagination, of fairy tales (for example a house on a chicken’s paw – a reminiscence about a princess that didn’t have a son, a heir of the throne, and, after spending a night in such a place with her beloved, she finally gave birth to her male descendant).
The garden, animals and plants are to stimulate a spatial imagination. My garden is my dream and I am aiming to make it perfect. When not dreaming, we are getting older, because a human being without dreams and passions is old. Every one of us has his own garden, we take care of it, buy new plants to beautify it, we admire gardens at every season of the year, which – as every “season” of life – is characterized by different colors. I am positive that a person having just a tiny part of his own land, will surely appreciate the hard work put into creating this garden. One of the purposes of creating this place was to prove to local people, that one is able to achieve his goal even on so infertile soil. The point is to choose the very best plants that will surely grow in such a place. Some of them say ‘ There is nothing interesting in this garden. The founder has just put some plants there… It is just like a forest’. But my greatest dream is to change these people’s minds, to make them aware of the fact that their envy will not change this region. Thus, visitors of my garden leave here big funds that will help this area to develop. So please, stop accusing me of the fact that you need to clean your windows more often because of bigger pollution, it is for your own good… When writing this, I want people visiting my garden to know who I really am, what are my joys and why I created this garden. If anyone is interested in any other details, do not hesitate to contact me and visit Leśny Gród.