Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Revelations in Ordinary Things
I do not seek to be obscure, Magritte said. I simply want to be understood via ordinary things, and those ordinary things I choose change with each moment. The “Song of Love” painted in oil by Chirico in 1914 changed my view of how I entered my dreams and how I came into the mornings and afternoons awake, with history intact or broken into fragments with luminescent colors.
I met my Georgette at the fair too, and although I did not know immediately that she was to be the love of my life, I felt the atmosphere change around her when we met. We exchanged words the way others exchange gifts, the ring to signify marriage, joining. That is why I wonder and rasp when I think of the mistreatment we give symbols and how they, as we, are misunderstood. What is real is distorted only our vision. Our education of vision has left us to see umbrellas as only a function of bouncing raindrops back into the air with our heads under them. Once we begin to think of an umbrella, and especially when we see one in the quiet of really looking at it, dry, our minds are full of every form and association that may follow – the last time we ran through rain with a lover, or someone we anticipated loving into an eternity we could not yet foresee but could feel, the way raindrops feel fat and full while they are falling; one view from a late life as we stood on the veranda beneath the eaves listening to the rain as the horizon heaved like a tangible and largely quiet ocean; of jumping into puddles while only 3 feet tall, dragging an umbrella given by our mothers. You see how the images float, fly, make their way? Hasty viewing is as disruptive as conversations cut off by a lost cell phone signal; and to have already forgotten that such signals are new is already to have forgotten a path of history as technology grows.
When did I begin to think of symbols as “symbols”? I shunned this later because I came to know the things themselves as the energy of how I moved them in my mind, the way they and I explored together their meanings, like the treasure chests of old wars, and even the paintings said to be found hidden under bridges and behind locked doors. Wars make us seal up art, and what we knew as art turns into propaganda until we change our seeing. What is propaganda? The mysteries of the visible world suffice to show themselves as our minds move with them through time. I tip my hat to the smooth Greek face that stands giant sentinel over so much silence, so much that is hidden and cold as stone, yet so full of the heart of our mind. The gloves that hang in “The Song of Love” tell their own colorful story.
Georgette, I ask you, was our dance the ferris wheel you remembered? I took your hand one day and remembered the gate through which we passed, and that gate opened into a few years’ absence, then into a lifetime of longing and laughter.
With words I reach to you, knowing yet that the realms in which our world works are beyond this ink, and beyond the turnstiles of any local fair. Subordinating visual images to thought, or vice versa, is nonsense. With you I only aim to make myself more visible, as I am.