Tag Archives: Nature

not even a town

not even a town

 

mud-black knees,

tunnel through hours—

 

but they were silent.

 

in-fluent veins of grass

 

conversation in threads,

the hours

 

at the ends or beginnings

of threads

 

an entire sky

 

web of threads

 

to get a sweater from the house

 

thereafter, the test

of an equine confidante

 

black plum relevant to time

and space

 

water in the foot print

 

water in the gopher hole

 

rain-wet birth of the spring creatures

balled, or translucent, wedged

in the soil

 

the red flag is up

on the mailbox

 

tires

hiss on the road

 

an unseen person

humming into a task

 

a generational field

yields a warning sign

 

an analogue feline

fades into memory

 

 

 

curate

curate

 

at odds on the landscape,

between here and the wellpump

 

what have you

may be enough

 

*

 

 

unwrap the remainder—

how many years now?

descent

of the gift into

memory

 

*

 

 

the point in question was not—

outside of doors,

the home state

changed

 

not the Place,

 

the feeling

 

*

 

 

at the first snow fall,

lines on her hands

unreadable

 

it’s not the matter.

who curates the fixity?

 

directed from within

 

 

uncertain the fate

 

of these trees

A new method

Trying a new art-making method=opening a path to endless possibilities. Isn’t that the real work at hand? Not the individual product, but the work itself.

The “opening-to-possibilities” part, an experience I may be addicted to.

Today you see my first attempt at carving and printing a lino block.

Well, to come clean: about 18 years ago, a group of friends got together for brunch at an artist-friend’s house; she taught us to carve and print a lino block. I carved one small block (of a rose–perhaps carving something so complicated prevented me from trying again till now?).

For whatever reason, only a few months ago I assembled all of the tools and materials needed to carve and print a lino block, and only this weekend printed my first “real”prints. Like many people, I suppose I’m better at generating ideas of what I want to do than actually doing it!

For this project, I used an unmounted lino block, and Speedball carving tool (the handy kind with the blades in the handle). I used Speedball water-soluble inks, mulberry paper, and Speedball brayer and baren. I also used a piece of glass from the hardware store (for inking). I plan on buying better carving tools for the unmounted lino (for sharper blades).

As a reference, I used several large Burr Oak leaves from a tree in our yard, and its one and only gargantuan acorn (the size of a golf ball!). I was fascinated by the thing and determined to represent it as best I could.

I first drew it on paper, then traced my drawing and transferred it to the lino block by placing it face down and then retracing the lines, on the back. Ah, graphite is such a wonderful thing–fascinating that it is the same stuff as a diamond, just on the opposite end of the hardness spectrum!

In the future I will also make sure to leave more lines in the back ground, since I love the effect in other linotypes I’ve seen. Lots of ideas now that this first print is free in the world; blocks of different sizes can be used for different purposes. Next, I’ll use a small (2.75″X5″) block to make a print for handmade cards–not ready to try another 5″X7” yet.

Nuance and unconscious skill comes over time; if you are intrigued by a particular type or method of artmaking, jump in and try it. We live at a time when we can watch a video on how to do just about anything–and if time (and funds) allow, take a class to commune with other newbies!

Pinterest offers a somewhat mindless way to do some pre-work, reflecting on artworks whose style you admire. See my growing “collection” on my Linocut board.

The beauty of attempting to make art is, hey, it’s just paper and ink, you can do no harm. But you may regret never trying!

For a fun guide on lino, rubber, foam, and stamp printing try: Block Print by Andrea Lauren. It’s amazing the art you can create with even a few white rubber erasers as your printing blocks.

burr-oaks-bounty

unmastered

unmastered

 

 

to start, to walk

 

 

at the cusp

 

where is she founded?

 

awareness—

 

 

flesh around the bones

belongs to her

 

 

better her than the wind

 

***

 

this segment of the woods—

does not disperse

with the breath

 

sensitive to thought

noise and the wide open aperture

at noon

 

 

(an imperceptible hinge–starts

 

the continuous now

 

 

 

***

 

 

proliferate

small beings

flit

from an echo

 

peripheral

relations—

 

we read them in their bones

 

 

***

 

 

water

collects around an edge—

through—

beyond—

woven-in—

 

all, all the sky

the brush

the ribs

birds

breath

all, woven-in

 

 

***

 

 

one step

 

one step

 

 

in the sand

repetition

 

 

silence

 

 

***

 

there are no masters

no tether

no never

no lonely stone

 

***

 

 

when at the end,

 

 

keep walking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Not-So-Ordinary Walk in the Woods

To what degree do we view the world with mental patterns that may hinder our awareness of the world around us?

I am reading The Genius of Birds (Jennifer Ackerman) and listening to an audiobook of The Hidden Life of Trees (Peter Wohlleben). Increasingly I am interested in epistemology–the study of the nature of knowledge, and in particular, the nature of truth and belief.

As I read,  I am struck by the fact that most of us go through our days with a surface understanding of the natural processes happening around us.The writers of these texts ask us, quite frankly, to evolve.

I generally had viewed birds as pretty oddities. I found it difficult to relate to these creatures with their quick, robotic movements; such a sharp divide between Mammalia and Aves.

But I have started to think that I have been limited in my observations–limited by deeply ingrained beliefs. For example, I did not recognize the cognitive abilities of some of the plainest looking birds, who have the ability to hide up to 30,000 seeds and remember where they are several months later. I had never thought about their social abilities–“They deceive and manipulate. They eavesdrop. They give gifts. They kiss to console one another. They blackmail their parents. They alert one another to danger. They summon witnesses to the death of a peer. They may even grieve.” There are birds who give a certain number of calls to indicate the size of a predator.

In “my neck of the woods” (a small farming village located along the Rio Grande), there are acequias (an irrigation system that is over 200 years old) lined with cottonwood trees. A wonderful place to stroll, walk, ride. Yesterday, as I was running there, I passed closer to a flock of Sandhill Cranes gathered in an apple orchard. The birds became agitated, trumpeting loudly. I wondered whether they were communicating to one another about the level of threat that I posed . . . I wondered about them and their relationships.

Perhaps that’s the beauty of opening the mind to new information–wondering; a richness of awareness.

Some insights from Ackerman’s book:

–Birds’ “intelligence” (which involves memory, problem solving, social skills, and other cognitive abilities) seems directly related to the complexity of tasks they must complete in order to survive. Even the same type of bird living farther north or in mountain (snowy) altitudes develop greater cognitive abilities than others who live in places where inventiveness or memory is less necessary.

–When large flocks of birds seemingly read each others’ minds and maneuver quickly as a unified group, really each individual bird is reacting to the several birds directly around it. No mind reading involved. Why I find this interesting is it isn’t telepathy (as I had thought), but it does involve the bird integrating direct experiences into its memory. Just like when we learn a skill so well, we can do it in our sleep.

Slow down a minute and let’s also think about the “intelligence” of trees, which looks a little different than the cognitive abilities of birds and mammals, because, well, trees don’t have brains. Or in a way, do they?

Here are some insights from Wohlleben’s book on trees that relate to our consideration of intelligence (the bolding and italics are mine):

In conjunction with his colleagues, Frantisek Baluska from the Institute of Cellular and Molecular Botany at the University of Bonn is of the opinion that brain-like structures can be found at root tips. In addition to signaling pathways, there are also numerous systems and molecules similar to those found in animals. When a root feels its way forward in the ground, it is aware of stimuli. The researchers measured electrical signals that led to changes in behavior after they were processed in a “transition zone.” If the root encounters toxic substances, impenetrable stones, or saturated soil, it analyzes the situation and transmits the necessary adjustments to the growing tip. The root tip changes direction as a result of this communication and steers the growing root around the critical areas.

Right now, the majority of plant researchers are skeptical about whether such behavior points to a repository for intelligence, the faculty of memory, and emotions. Among other things, they get worked up about carrying over findings in similar situations with animals and, at the end of the day, about how this threatens to blur the boundary between plants and animals. And so what? What would be so awful about that? The distinction between plant and animal is, after all, arbitrary and depends on the way an organism feeds itself: the former photosynthesizes and the latter eats other living beings. Finally, the only other big difference is in the amount of time it takes to process information and translate it into action. Does that mean that beings that live life in the slow lane are automatically worth less than ones on the fast track? Sometimes I suspect we would pay more attention to trees and other vegetation if we could establish beyond a doubt just how similar they are in many ways to animals.
Peter Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from A Secret World

Wohlleben presents the fact that in well established old growth forests, trees communicate through a network of roots, fibers, mosses, fungi. They adjust water intake to support weaker trees; older trees deprive saplings of light, monitoring the slow growth of the others. At first thought this seems stingy, but in reality ensures the strength of the young ones. The slower a tree grows, the stronger the tree. He says that you do NOT see the same level of communication and social development in a planted forest. Trees seem to need much more time to develop their quiet strength, to develop an ecosystem that ensures resilience.

I encourage you to explore a seemingly mundane topic, something you encounter in your daily life, in a way that inspires you to “see with new eyes”, outgrow rigid mental patterns. One of the joys in life!

 

far from home

far from home

 

as a post script, cancellation

of all the words that were beneath us, holding

us

 

in the absorbed refrain or diameter,

feels her feet walk

a circle around the open lot

 

it’s the super moon

provokes unresolved thoughts—

imperceptible chords, myco-

rrhizae

 

answer by walking through dividing lines—

 

a fence no longer functions

to remind her who she is not

 

“across the de-mystified

teleologic field, a disruption”

 

“she responded to the boundary’s in/flected whisper

born from homespun daydream”

 

continuity to come undone–

gesture that involves an Other

 

a vowel opening leads to diminution

of a wire

 

—the grammar

of the gatherer—artifacted

thought lines—twigs and stones,

small bones

 

cause a fall–

outside the perimeter

 

as there is a principle

nested in the body

becomes windblown,

a force directs her

farther afield

 

 

 

distance precedes us

distance precedes us

 

the space between feather

threads where the distance

is too far—your hand

passes over your face

this time

 

within the privet

wings thunder and recede

branches in the mouth

of the afternoon

 

we bend to pour our

selves into holes

left behind by thought

 

unlabeled undersides,

the thicket crowns above—

distraction

of what we think we know

 

and all the chattering voices

and car sounds in the distance

the call of a train, it all depends

on how you see yourself

 

infinite, unnamed potentials,

or pregnant stillness

that comes before the quake

 

 

neighbor

neighbor

 

the dawn walk—

not yet fully

bodied

 

remember, now

as the season of crows

 

a hand in similar

shape, but

close

 

*

 

behind fences,

they do

what they want

 

no consequence

 

(voices whisper

otherwise

 

*

 

the old Mason—

granddaughter in a princess cart,

together on the dirt road

 

I have questions

about the density

of matter

 

of hands holding

genetic pattern

 

*

 

plants push limits, repeat

limbs in fractals

 

till they feel enough

the sky

 

ladders, the product

of a finite will

 

there may be a shadow

in this yard

that joins us

there