Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Air is Electric with Elephant

“The air is electric with elephant.” Joy Williams, Safariland

The accessibility of memory belongs to the care taking of the mother, the long line of songs that tell the story of each feeding, each day dying, each birth from its moment of creation through its tangle of thoughts into tissue and liquid, flesh.

What we forget is how this pattern is made, and how it continues eternally, through time. As my father walks slowly into rooms, lays himself down onto beds, beneath covers, sighing that sigh which is only his and smiling a little in full contentment, I feel every rhythmic move and bent of this elephant line, the dignity and precious nature of life, the nurturing of both flesh and memory. We are triumphant in our small ways, in this contentment of life, when we reach it. Knowing, now, is to remember the long line of generations, in their motion and change, the dignity of bearing and creating each life, linking to more. Even knowing that “matter” is more energy than visible density, even as we see it, we require more “proof,” wood we can knock on, to let our thoughts go, without interference of some kind.

I think of my beautiful mother, her strength and indomitable spirit, all the while as her cells are bombarded by chemicals sent in as special forces, to take out insurgents. I feel the fields of sounds wave as they ripple, and remember that without matter, there is no sound. Matter makes sound? Moments when a worry flutters through like the shadow of a bird across her face, the feelings spread themselves like water, deep, through her, and through all her time. What songs are these, how many verses, voices? Their beauty is eternal. The joy of each moment together, of thoughts touching, of urges and bangs, sparks and waves, brings the colorful changes to light.

Mine are joys specific and general. A friend said one thing she appreciates about how we communicate is that it seems we never have to land. I feel the truth of this and the crest of waves with the rise of air. I have written to find the flow of my life, the threads that make up the beauty of fabric sewn to use, appreciate. The details, like the fruits of the garden – knowing which leaf comes from which seed, the character and life of each breed and presence – determine the flow of life. Now I know this, new. Chemicals carry the messages, the love notes, we write to ourselves every moment, cell to cell, circling, tribe to tribe, cluster to cluster, family to family.

Outside the airplane window, I see a cloud standing free like a giant snowman, and a wisp like a fountain of water spouting. My passion is for mining these trails of life, an explorer at heart, but this time, of artifacts of a different kind. I feel no need to descend into caves and pits with tools and kits to precisely remove dust and centuries of accumulation. This I do internally, following the trails of others in their identifying tracks and making meaning from them in new ways. What a curiously deep satisfaction this is.

I can’t quite reach you,” people have said to me in years gone by. Some clutched more, dug deep, but with different tools. Follow me in, I say, and I’ll do the same with you.

Friends are a gift. "Confusion is resistance to seeing oneself in the energy of another. The vision is not loved if you are not loved by you. Understand you to understand me. Love yoruself to love me. We are one, you and me." Sharing, K.O., 213

How We Know

I don’t suppose it matters, except to me –
And then again, each one in me changing,
Molecule by molecule,
All in how we count ourselves,
Our grains,
Our thoughts,
Our rush of water through time,
Palms cupped to dip and drink.
This moment I’m by a river,
Drying off.
The sun and I shine.
Tomorrow, maybe moss.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Making Memories

I bought this drawing from the Pittsboro General Store one night long ago when Kathy and I visited to hear some music and get some dinner. The drawing hung on the wall above our corner-room table and each time we glanced at it, we smiled. For me, memories of feasting throughout time. I would post the artist's name but am unable to read it completely.

This view is from Fearrington Barn one rainy May morning when I was able to hear Barbara Kingsolver present her new book complete with slides, an introduction to her husband and youngest daughter, and the necessary delight of Nature's treasures. If you haven't read her work, add it to your list for some time, somewhere.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Our Twin Towers, Delta Born

"The Twin towers," my mother and Aunt, were born in Sumner, Mississippi,so this is a nod to family roots and the satisfaction I find in visual trails and portraits of life as we know it, whoever we may be. These links lead to many more. Thank you, cousins, for your contributions to our pleasures.

A native Southerner raised on a cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta, William Eggleston has created a singular portrait of his native South since the late 1960s. His large-format prints monumentalize everyday subjects. Although he began his career making black and white images, he soon abandoned them to experiment with color technology. The Museum of Modern Art's groundbreaking one-man show of 1976, William Eggleston's Guide, established his reputation as the pioneer of modern color photography.

Here's an online gallery link from Die Welt (premiere German dailiy) in connection with a Munich exhibition, sent on from another cousin: Eggleston and Welt Online

A documentary By the Ways, A Journey with William Eggleston

Delta Dogs at the Delta Blues Museum Photographs by Maude Schuyler Clay 04/12/2007 To: 07/30/2007 - The Delta Blues Museum is pleased to announce the premiere of “Delta Dogs: Photographs by Maude Schuyler Clay." If I were there, I'd definitely visit.

A Little Sumner History

And one more thing: My nephew, Sumner James Martin, and my niece, Ellen Sumner Wiles, are also acknowledged in this string of pearls, this train, this compilation.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Walk This Way

At the Bodies Exhibit yesterday, we read, in big white letters on a smooth grey board, “Disease is a part of life.” My friend and I recoiled. Imagine what words could do if we ate them, I thought, before I tore the page and began to chew. I imagined myself a spy in a strange land, chewing up my origins and mission before the last moment of life, the eclipse of sight with these particular eyes, alert to the dying of the light and eager for the next inhale, the next starburst and wave that is me feeling my way through what I used to call space.

In the beginning was the Word. What once Was feels familiar, begins to be known. My entrails, tongue, the cords, pops, snaps, fountains full of color, show me the earliest signs of life and what I have done to it, what I use it for. Here, outside, plasticene, polymers, the tiny tentacles like coral emblazoned red, blue, and heavily yellow-brown.

Touch me like you know me, a cartoon caption came back to me from another day. Know me as I am. To know me as my nerve bundles, my magnetic fields, is to know me long before we meet with hands and even eyes in those colors we call blue and green and grey and brown. Our proximity, like crossing borders made to change, moves like water moves, the air its own motion and change, wings of words drifting and flapping through.

Who was I to think that scepters and rings, shields and crowns, stamps and spears, guns and missiles could speak for me? The birds of spring and summer sing and flutter through, dive and climb, and the wind that has been building for months has taken on, today, a new weight, an anticipation not so eager but obliged, compelled, called upon to move. Change is here, my heart, and my chest cavity, my ribs, move a little inside. In my mind is chemistry.

I am no prophet or seer, but what I feel has come before, and will again, another day. We are called upon, to know, to simply be ourselves, without trappings hanging from every cave which hide our jewels. There is no salvation in song without the words that we can eat, the apple that began it, the garden we call home.

Another trapeze artist falls to his death. Did you feel it?
A small device blew up in a garage and left one dead. Did you feel it?
A tornado tore through Greensburg leaving broken bits and bodies.
War pounds on, and those confronted steel themselves like old warriors.
Civilians pull their magnetic fields in like capes, mummies, embryos.
My friend’s hands feel every sensation of the air and earth, and the water knows.
There is a rustling, a beauty in the stark clarity of sky, even in this rumbling.

Touch me like you know me, says the air.
Love me, says the Earth.
Breathe me in, and calm me, says the wind.
Know me as I am.

The words come out of my hands, not my brain, I write with my hands.”
Philip K. Dick

"I was twelve [in 1940] when I read my first sf magazine…it was called Stirring Science Stories and ran, I think, four issues….I came across the magazine quite by accident; I was actually looking for Popular Science. I was most amazed. Stories about science? At once I recognized the magic which I had found, in earlier times, in the Oz books - this magic now coupled not with magic wands but with science…In any case my view became magic equals science…and science (of the future) equals magic." Philip K. Dick

“Science is a technique where uncreative people use the facts of the past to create. The creation is the result of building upon the past that is known until the present discovers itself.” Kathy Oddenino, Sharing, p. 190

The Bodies Exhibition/