Saturday, August 2, 2014

the language of horses, may 26, 2014

i used to think that photographing animals or nature was a mechanistic kind of job.  one would behold the factory of the world and choose the component of the world they wanted to exert method upon.  i did not then see that it was a dance with mystery.  and i think one needs to be careful because while it is always a dance with mystery, the photographer, it seems to me, is not always aware of it.

and then in my 40th year or so i re-found wellness and myself, not in ideas, nor in words (however in both of these places too), but in the air that moved around a bird's wings, in the musk of moss on my face, and upon the mudded fur of the elder beaver hard of hearing, heavy as wet carpet and as slow as the good time of silence moving his mute body only some feet from me. each act of the ordinary in nature is extraordinary, miraculous, beyond us in our inattentive functioning, but is the core of us inside of our attention, and of course, is the act of grace itself.

last week driving through farmland after a great many days of rain i came upon a horse at the back of the field.  it was stomping into water, over and over again, its hooves as thick as trees.  i could see no reason for what it was caught inside of, captured by the lust of its doingness, however i could feel its ecstasy, its revelry, in my chest, over and over again its heavy hooves moving the water recklessly with heft, as though the water were not water but something solid that the horse was managing to manipulate.  it seemed like such an act of spirit, and of course, of body, the horse putting its face to the currents and snorting, withdrawing and stomping some more.  i thought of a lover in his lover's lap deep in the smell of sex, intoxicated by desire and being.

i can't care if it means anything to anyone else.  it is my breath, even if not to capture it, even if i fail time and time again, even if the camera stays on the seat beside me as it did with the horse, to be in the same world as the horse without the impediment of human language, but rather deeply bruised by the language of horses, bruised so hard i am convinced, shudderingly, of being here in this moment.

***

due to a series of small events i have no ability to process and post photographs any more. this absence is an absence of myself to myself. and is curious. and so i post these words in lieu of photographs.

Friday, July 18, 2014

to be - ecstatically - with the world

i had just watched this girl and her friends climb down from the immense rock face where the lighthouse is situated and navigate the natural and difficult structure of the shore. near the water, all three of them paused at their destination and clung for a moment to a small rock, this girl spontaneously slipping four feet or more to the craggy surf beneath them as i sat safely on a distant rock taking photographs, pausing to gasp in disbelief at what i was witnessing and in fear as to the outcome might be. it could easily have been to her death that she slid to, such a casual and simple gesture such as slipping ripe with the power to break the delicate transaction we make moment by moment with life.

but it was only a moment later, after proving to herself that she was still alive by climbing back up the rocks near shore, that she took once again toward where the deep water meets the rocks.

art (not that this is art, but rather that this is a statement i choose to stand by) should be some form or reflection of agony







and living too

and if living is not agony (ecstasy), a new agony is born in the place of nothingness (spiritual bereavement)

either way we are born of agony 

and this we return to again and again for nourishment

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

wind through swamp grass



Archetype by Pattiann Rogers

I do not move through time. I move
through rain. When rain falls
straight down on mossy brick walls
or the bodies of lounging seals
or continuously at a slant into the rush
of gorges or the open mouths of desert
birds, that isn't at all the way time
moves, is it? Rain is not time,
and I know it is rain I move within.

Or snow, as one in its infusion,
even at midair, is more an ever-present
covering of sky and land than a future
or a passing. Walking through this frozen
ruggled weave of white, it's obvious
I live in forest snow, not time.

Time can't happen all at once
in random multidimensional features
like the swirling rise and shifting,
overlaying orbits of wing bones and cries
that happen when the egrets leave
their lakeside roost. My place
has always been the surrounding sounds
of wetland peepers and crows, the silence
of sun-sprung pods and buds among tree
lattices and their shadows crossing
themselves, departing and doubling back.
This is nothing like the strictly
linear place of time.

Wind can come from all directions,
simultaneously down from invisible
black portals and tunnels in the night
and dark and up from caverns of cool
earth, bringing with it wet rock
fragrances, sullen bat and moth mold
and must. Wind has no marked beginning,
no signal ending. It can be slashed
by switchgrasses and spurge nettles
into a million slits and figments
that have no specific designations,
as moments and seconds and instants do.
The south wind newly warm once came
round and round through my hair, cupped
my face, lifted my blouse, and left.
Time has never been so charmingly
caressive. And I say it is the realm
of wind without time where I exist.

Poor hopeless fool.


Friday, July 4, 2014

waves


i thought it was longing itself i longed for
but it is not,
but rather it is that longing is
as in: it is the greatest verb,
what we are

in the way the wave does not long for the shore
but is longing for the shore.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

poppies vi, some things that poppies don't know

i collect things. and for a time i keep them. i have a difficult time letting go of feathers or bark, stones or flowers. and so when the poppy shed her wings weeks ago i collected them from the floor where they had fallen. overwhelmed with their flesh in my hands i put them blindly to a book so that some day i might happen upon them again and again be overwhelmed by them.

while looking for feathers yesterday that i stowed away for safe keeping in february (and can not find - for who knows which book i hid those in?) surprisingly i came across the petals in Seamus Heaney's Seeing Things, crammed between two (almost) sonnets, one in particular about childhood and our capacity for violence.

from Squarings, xxi, by Seamus Heaney

Once and only once I fired a gun –
A .22. At a square of handkerchief
Pinned on a tree about sixty yards away.

It exhilarated me – the bullet’s song
So effortlessly at my fingertip,
The target’s single shocking little jerk,

A whole new quickened sense of what rifle meant
And then again as it was in the beginning
I saw the soul like a white cloth snatched away

Across dark galaxies and felt that shot
For the sin it was against eternal life –
Another phrase dilating in new light.


The Sacred – Blown Apart

because i couldn't accept that what was was enough
i picked them up from the floor, errant, shed poppy feathers – 
flesh, and stuck them blindly into a book,
just as rifles are stuck (sometimes) into the crux of stories –
unwanted, barrels to mouths like cocks, just as cocks are stuffed
(sometimes) to mouths or otherwise locations – unwanted,
these purveyors of love and war, sleeping weapons shod upon the body
always slightly stirring.

it is so complicated, isn't it, this stuff we humans are made of?

heaney writes – rifle, and lays the word like a gun to its rack
which gets locked upon my bookshelf in his book,
perhaps sleeping but always stirring
inside the poem which might just save us,

and there it lies – rifle, now glittering with poppy gore,
the poem wielded at long last, vested in fresh blood.