February 14, 2013 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
The ubiquitous stylized heart symbol we have come to associate with love and Valentines Day can be found in outdoor environments all over the world. Some are manmade, but many are Mother Nature’s Valentines.
A lake fed by a spring in the Amazon River basin. Photo: Reuters.
Heartifacts of Nature
I’m stepping away from the city today to travel the globe in search of “heartifacts”–works of nature that appear in the form of natural heart-shaped artifacts, or naturefacts, some small enough to hold in your hand, others spanning miles or more and only visible from above.
Coeur de Voh, or Heart of Voh, large formation of mangrove vegetation, North Caledonia. Photo: Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
As art often imitates life, or nature, a number of very creative people have used their natural environment to create some amazing manmade artworks using materials from nature like trees, water, and stone–or not, like the housing track below.
Manmade pond in Lorain County, Ohio. Photo: Google Earth.
A Love Story Told in Trees
When British farmer Winston Howes’s wife Janet died suddenly from heart failure 19 years ago, he and his son spent weeks planting a living statement of Winston’s enduring love for her: an expansive heart-shaped memorial meadow on an acre of 6000 oak trees bordered by bushy hedges.
The wooded tribute to wife and mother can’t be seen from the road and remained a secret for two decades until it was it was discovered in 2012 by a balloonist.
As the balloonist, Andy Collett, told the Daily Mail, “It was a perfect heart hidden away from view–you would not know it was there. You can just imagine the love story.”
Every spring Howes–who flew over the field several years ago to view it from above–plants daffodils in the meadow which he accesses by a cleared path that leads him to the tip of the heart. Happy Valentines Day Winston and Janet, and to all of you. xo