You are on page 1of 9

Becoming

The earths pull is magnetic at times, almost a beckoning. Where this affinity

comes from probably has a scientific basis, the mineral content of certain

soils perhaps, creating a tuning fork hum only marrow or iron in the blood

1
can detect. The rhythm chants and chlorophyll, rising green to the top of

grass blades, does sing back.

Poets, according to myth, have a deeper sense of being rooted to the ground.

I am not sure how much of that theory is romanticism, but I do believe

particular kinds of creative individuals are more drawn to expressing the

earth/body correlation. Certainly farmers, environmentalists, garden-

workers, and all those who work off of, live for, the land, have a connection

to it as mysteriously profound.

Hunters, gatherers, agrarian societies from primitive shore to shore around

the globe: how can we not have a genetic predisposition with what our feet

travel upon? Is to lose that link, an awareness of it, to be thrown out of

balance? For me the answer is a resounding Yes, but I know of many who

would be quite sound and content living in shopping malls. These people

have adapted to modern society with far more useful coping skills than I

have to fit and survive.

2
The rural is family to me, familiar and yet strange. Farm-raised, I am much

like a salmon pushing upstream, a flicker of copper with elements of

childhood echoing in my cells. That my writing and art carries vestiges of

this influence must be as true for those who grew up in suburbs or large

cities, and what shapes the voice of these sentences is memory transfused

through experience. While growing up, of course, Natures neutrality for

either cruelty or reverie was felt viscerally, but not given definition. Time

has done that, though more as a surrealist than a realist in the imagery my

art has managed to borrow and also obtain shape from. No, I am not

3
someone who paints or writes of actual landscapes or seascapes much.

What comes through me more is a collage of their details. These details all

have a character, a spirit, not necessarily even mine, except while I am living

it. There is instinct and intuition to this alchemical osmosis. I am a sojourner

along the way.

The summer after I graduated high school is when I found myself growing

increasingly obsessed with making a definable record of the fluid and the

nebulous inherent in this passage. Such preoccupations took hold of me

earlier, and I still have yellowing manuscripts and pastels of those efforts,

but it was the summer after graduating high school where the process of

Becoming took on a nearly desperate, if disciplined, insistence. I recall

taking my mothers small black plastic 110 Camera and becoming lost for

hours. Being solitary by nature I often spent hours as a kid and teen,

roaming the acres of my familys property, usually wandering the banks of

the streams and creek which ran through the hills there.

4
5
Minnows became legions of silver ships, and the bilious jelly of tadpole sacs

seemed interplanetary. Lily pads were islands floating over clay striations,

the occasional turtle, and schools of rainbow sunfish. The zipping shimmer

of water bugs, and dragon flies of rainbow transparency, half-alien, half-

angelic, buzzing overhead, was orchestral as evening came on, and the

peepers made a chorus for the flickering silence of lightning bugs.

6
The summer after I graduated high school the significance of all of this and

more became inspiration magnified. I was fascinated with shadows and

reflections, both the patterns of algae beneath the water and clouds distilled

upon its brown. I took numerous photos of this phenomenon and

experimented with floating Queen Annes Lace through the viewfinder. Then

the sky itself was a huge lens, and when lying down I traversed the heights

of milk weed pod fluff and purple thistle crowns as though they were eyes.

The sky was see-through blue after blue sheets these antennae recorded, but

I felt the sky was watching back too. I imagined lying huge mirrors on

meadows to capture the effect, yet also horizon lines held wide wonder,

7
especially when there was nothing but rolling waves of straw leading to

them. The world was Other, apart and gigantic.

Next the macrocosmic turned micro, and dilapidated barns and abandoned

milk houses, with their flowering weeds through the cracks, created universe

upon universe. Woods too, with their brambles of gorse, the fallen logs of

ant-hole civilizations and lichen steppes, seized me like a botanist, as did my

fathers gardens with their cornflower stars and nebulae of indigo

cabbages

What was I attempting to document? What was it I thought I would lose, was

in the process of losing, while transitioning into young adulthood and the

responsibilities of entering the work force? Innocence? But I was already an

old-soul. Individuality? But I was already a queer duck. No. It was as if the

photos were planting seeds while simultaneously making a time chest. I was

hoarding and harvesting with no sense of practical anthropology, no thesis

goal in sight to set out like a blueprint, a way to trace back a full proof

answer as to why things were the way they were.

More than twenty years later, tossed by tides of cities, jobs and the shifting

winds of relationships, the constant question of that summer gives me an

answer now that I was then what I am still: pagan as a druid and wild with

the good wilderness that is within all whether we recognize ourselves as

artists or not. I have gone from pastels to watercolors to oils to acrylics to

mixed media and even film. I have found myself adding spices and rice to

8
my canvasses as well as jewelry and glitter. I have found myself returning to

those photos and that summer as much as I continue to keep a chronicle of

existence with new photos and new scribbles. I have found myself returning

to myself by losing myself to something larger. I have yet to determine if

that larger energy is a god, but certainly the earth is a heavenly body

eternity spins in, coloring outside of the lines.