There’s a Neon Buddha in the Front Yard
While I wouldn’t consider myself to be “well-traveled” in that I haven’t been to Europe or anywhere outside of the continental US other than the Bahamas, I do like to think that I have traveled a lot. It may have only been to California, New York, Maryland, Florida, Texas, etc. but I’ve been a lot of places in this great country of ours.
One thing I have noticed about the South, and Georgia in particular, is our peculiar affinity for what I call “yard art”. Now please don’t think about the fancy bottle trees that everyone is making, guzzling the wine of different brands to create these interesting looking “trees” in their yards, I’m talking the plastic pink flamingos and the neon Buddha.
Understanding of course that the flamingos that have popped up everywhere, at least here, due to fundraising activities for various charities. There are still flamingos in yards that have nothing to do with shaming people into donating to a worthwhile non-profit, rather they are in place because people like them.
Is this wrong? I say no. Is it an interesting occurrence? I definitely say yes!
As a habitual “noticer” (this is not an actual word BTW) of things, I’m a fairly keen observer so even the smallest thing can catch my attention and spark a story in my head. One such instance came from the neon Buddha in the front yard of a house just off of Highway 84 in Midway. I pass by the house at least twice a day and every day I create a different story for how Pete (the neon Buddha) came to be in the front yard.
The first time I noticed Pete he was pink. He was fairly visible at the time, perched on a stand just beyond the front porch railing, and my immediate thought was “what the heck!” From then on I have watched that piece of yard art and wondered at the family, person (?) who would put it in the front yard. And then Pete changed colors. My guess is he wasn’t attracting enough attention so the owner decided neon yellow would suit Pete better.
And then Pete got company. There are now pink statuary pigs, what appears to be a chipmunk in an old birdcage and an assortment of other oddities. So after noticing Pete, the pigs and poor Alvin (the chipmunk) I started really paying attention to this Southern affinity for collecting yard art.
Driving around Liberty County from some of the poorest housing to some of the most impressive, higher end neighborhoods, there is yard art. Which to me means that people of all socioeconomic statuses and backgrounds like it. In researching to try to understand this phenomenon a little more I discovered that gnomes were first introduced as statuary for yards back in the 18th Century as it was believed that during the wee hours the gnomes would come alive and help in the garden, giving you better luck in growing fruits and vegetables. That theory stayed valid until the mid-19th Century and then gnomes became more affiliated with bringing luck and love to a home. And then now, they have just become another piece of yard art.
So the need for these pieces of statuary, windmills, decorative mailboxes, flamingos, tree faces, etc. is not one of necessity but rather one of desire for how the homeowner feels when he/she passes their favorite armadillo statue and smiles at the memory it evokes or the scene it creates. Definitely interesting.
As a person with a yard for the last two years I have never thought about what I might want to put in the yard other than plants and grass, however, now I am seriously thinking that there needs to be something to be reflective of my personality so that passerby have some idea of who I am. Maybe I can find a huge statue of a shoe?
My fear is that Pete (the neon Buddha) might take a leaf from the gnome’s book and grow legs in the wee hours or Alvin (the chipmunk) might get tired of that cage and break out…..put that in your nightmare drawer.
-Leah Poole, CEO of the Liberty County Chamber & CVB
The Right Blend Blog is written by three different authors employed by the Liberty County Chamber/CVB. As we are able, we rotate weeks and each write about our individual experiences, opinions and let our writing reflect our personalities and creativity. All content provided on The Right Blend blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.