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TRAVEL REVIEW: The Dodecagon - Wood Floor Garden

TRAVEL REVIEW: The Dodecagon - Wood Floor Garden

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Published by Ali Tadlaoui
An imagined travel review of a fictitious guesthouse
An imagined travel review of a fictitious guesthouse

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Published by: Ali Tadlaoui on Dec 28, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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TRAVEL CORNERReview of the wooden floor garden at the “Dodecagon”
A three-quarters moon woke me before dawn, splashing into my guesthouse roomthrough oversized windows with no curtains or blinds. The guesthouse proprietorsbelieve in big windows. And why would they believe otherwise? I had a full frontal viewof the open ocean. Whistling buoys off in the distance lullabied me through a twenty-degree opening in the window. A crack that also invited in a cold, surf breeze to ticklemy feet while the moon and Venus filled the window and my face with fresh light. Allwas still in the compact guesthouse so I figured I was the first one up. I wanted to pickthe best viewing spot of the wooden floor garden so I walked in quiet, deliberate, full-footprint steps. The floor was cool in the middle of summer.The guesthouse is called the “Dodecagon.” The proprietors, Mean and Dean (they didn’tvolunteer their real names and I didn’t push them), built the place from the ground up onthe far edge of Provincetown in 2006. The Dodecagon can accommodate a maximum of twelve people. Mean and Dean believe in the power of 12. The signs of the zodiac.The months of the year. The twelve year cycle of the Chinese calendar…Theguesthouse is billed as a refuge from the refuges. A place to test your ability to trulyunwind. Its centerpiece attraction is a twelve-sided wooden floor garden modeled after Zen rock gardens. The room is large. How large? I racked my brain for memories of high school geometry to calculate the area of a twelve-sided polygon. I broke it downinto triangles and a square. Walked off a side of the remaining square. I guessed 1001square feet. Mean informed me it was 576 square feet. It feels larger because there isno furniture. Just a magnificent mosaic of wooden tiles. Twelve kinds of wood. Meanand Dean invite guests to a daily sunrise ritual in the Dodecagon. A ritual to set the dayoff on the right path.The wooden garden was still dark. I sat on one of the twelve benches planted squarelyin the middle of the twelve walls of the dodecagon. I chose to face the small door. Icould make out shades of difference on the floor. It was polished. I could see thatmuch. I waited for the story on the floor to unfold. As the dark outside turned to gray thefloor turned increasingly silver. Like a bed of silver-lined clouds with wisps and curlicuescoming in and out of focus. The beech and birch tiles lighting up first, then fading. Meanand Dean came into the dodecagon just as the sun was about to break. Two other guests followed them in. Mean and Dean sat together on one bench. The others alsoshared a bench. Dean whispered that the Dodecagon was best first experienced aloneand that they should split up.And then the sunlight lit up one side of this fantastic room. Taurus, the glorious bull of the zodiac, pieced together by hundreds of tiles of different shades of wood, of differentdegrees of polish and size, shone alone above the wafting silver cloud that covered therest of the wooden garden. We kept our awe to ourselves. One minute later the nextconstellation came to life beneath our sleepy eyes. The next minute the next. I didn’trealize how precisely the signs of the zodiac were brought forth until I timed the next andthe rest of the dozen. Every minute on the minute. When the entire zodiac gleamedbefore us I looked up. The roof was as much the wonder as the wooden garden floor. Itwas a maze of skylight and shaft designed to harness the predictable and meticulousrising of the sun. I felt the reflection from the wooden garden lighting, warming my face.It was as if we’d slowly opened the lid of the Golden Ark

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