Complexity

Sarah Seager, Napa valley, California, January, 2011

The rain is falling steadily tonight, coating the dry ground, soaking deep within the roots of the plants that line the outer perimeter of the yard.  The lawn floods into pools, then resides as the water is quickly absorbed below.  Within caverns of worms, air is choked away, forcing a sudden exit topside to air and cool temperatures.   There is warmth below ground, a consistent ambiance to be enjoyed, to be relished within.  Topside on the other hand is filled with combat, the meeting place between atmospheres.

In this space, where air meets land, two divergent forms interact, collect, and exchange vows to one another.  Deep within each the other cannot exist, except as mist, spreading out, to only recollect again within their own form.  The sea understands this relationship, laughing and gnashing itself against both forces,  spreading out in its offense, devouring earth, yet misting upward into clouds.  Tumbling forward, pulling back, then charging once again outward urged by the air, it relentlessly fights a battle that is both its own and another.

And all sleep, gentle within dreams, having fought hard throughout the daylight.  There, up there, yes, pointed finger, fin, hoof, or beak, one can acknowledge the cause of all of this.   The tempest that rains not drops of water, but interchangeable stuff (particle or wave, or wave or particle….) that swirls the airs, excites the seas,  and parches the earth.  The same cause of disturbance, is the only cause for existence.

And the drops have become less frequent, lazily falling from condensed points of leaves to the roof below.   Thousands of meters above the air is becoming parched of the sea, the earth devouring all that it can consume.  In between we sit, lay, walk, or move, trapped within the conflict, the conversations of the elements.  We acknowledge them, soak them in, bath within them, and float within each moment, passing through their timeless pursuit in that of our own.  As they dream we do, easing into a sullen state that is composed of memories that speak to them.  In these dreams we fight again, the conflicts that have long existed, far beyond our births, our deaths, our gasps of light in winter skies.

wbh

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The Big Rethink

Rail, 1999, by Sarah SeagerCollectively it seems that the time for a refreshed view of the world needs to occur.  Every aspect, personal, professional, political and polytheistic, needs a reassessment as to value and place.  The core is solid, a nucleus that can’t be split, but all that revolves around and interacts with it is subject to change.  And that’s the golden moment, any new thing can be found and discovered.

You can see it on the ground level, the places where people congregate and assemble.  It’s in the blank stares of those that wander the streets, un-contained within car skin that rushes by.  No, what I’m talking about is the people that you find while wandering boulevards that are meant to be parked, not walked.  There’s something very odd afoot, hidden away and unseen at speeds above 10 mph, elements of a drastic decay seemingly taking hold.

This is one view, something that pops out to the eye on the pedestrian level.  A theater being played out that is impromptu and merciless.   The odd thing is that no one is watching it, only acting within it, not pondering it.  The director and producers have taken their collective leave, hoping for the best as they retire to safer lodgings.  “Bravo!” you may say, lets see where this all ends, take control of the uncontrollable.

It may seem that all of the above is unconnected and ranty in nature, but I beg that it is just the opposite.  Each element is interconnected, and that which is playing out on the streets, directly plays out through each and every other quarter of our society.   It is seen in the manner in which people speak to one another, honk uncontrollably, swear vindictive curses, and gaze with a hollow emptiness back out into the world.

Yet there’s hope.  Just the other day I passed a man that was down on his luck, who asked me for the time.  I smiled back at him and politely offered “10:30”, followed by a quick “Have a great day!”  as I continued on my way.  A few hours later, making my way back the way I had come I encountered him again, but this time he was on the other side of the street embroiled in song.   “O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain!”  echoed in his voice as he sang out for the world to hear, or just me.

There’s hope, in it’s own very strange way.

wbh

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Parallel to You and everything else

cy twombly, time codes, living outside and beyond the norm

There’s something to be said about parallels.  Things that coexist side by side, perfectly separated as they move through space.  They may not be equal at all times, rather there’s blips and bumps that create inequality through the progression, but it matters little.   The importance is the understanding of the parallel tracks that are followed, with each locked within one another’s gravity.  That’s where the golden material is.

Perhaps the separation is nothing but time code.  To a mosquito a season is a lifetime, maybe two months if one is lucky without a swat, pesticide, or a green glowing light of death ending it all.  Yet, as humans, homo  sapiens to be exact, we view time differently, in days, months, years, and decades.  A thousand years ago to be forty was a blessing, something that was far from expected.  These days the idea of living a day below ninety is unthinkable, why, when we have the best medicine and treatments in the western world at our disposal.  No, that’s not what’s vexing me at this late hour of the night.  What’s sticking, is the idea of the speed of different clocks.

The universe is on its own clock, started at some finite point billions of years ago.  The earth, this earth, within this solar system has its own age, roughly 4.5 billion years old.  Now us, humans, have been around for say 100,000 years if that, in some form or another, pretty small.  Now take it down to the individual level, the guy or gal living in the 21st century, expecting maybe to make it 90 t0 100 years if all goes well.   Each has their own time code that they follow, a separate clock that ticks with varying spaces between the seconds.

Not to make things even more confusing, is culture, well the culture we’ve developed since as a species we decided to organize and live compactly.  That also has it’s own clock, moving ever so slower than that of the individual.   Confusing as all hell, but ultimately what it comes down to is all these wonderful bands of progressions running parallel to one another, racing at different speeds into some finite future, intersect and interact, yet at awkward maturation points.   Sometimes one line is further progressed than others, and zero is heard or understood.  Yet at some point they meet, and a coherence is found, more than likely far from the life of the person that created it.

All of this is just constructs though, in that we are all borne to that which we reside.  We are of this earth, which is of this solar system, which is of this universe, which is of many.  We try as we may to see the bigger picture, yet we fail to within our daily lives.  Instead we follow the individual time codes that we’ve been given, bearing the difficulties that we see only within them.

Perhaps the mosquito sees nothing but the same, and we are all left adrift within whatever time may be given, living our season until its unexpected end.  But parallel, we will progress, relentless, moving forward with everything else until some unforeseen end on some unknown clock we’ve never seen, but have always followed, is discovered, and unwound.

wbh

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The Future is Unwritten

Joe Strumner, Earthquake Weather

Joe Strummer

It’s been way too quiet of late.  Small tremors are out there,  but in reality overall nothing is happening.   You would think that this is a good thing, but in reality it is nothing but a reprieve from the inevitable.

Living in Los Angeles, one expects the ground to rumble from time to time.  The land is fractured and scarred with evidence of tectonic history that is anything but passive.  The unspoken agreement is that at any given moment the ground may shift, inching ever closer to the northwest.  Southern California is technically not a part of North America, but is an out cropping of a massive Pacific Plate of land.  Yes, I know, geology is interesting for 5 minutes of discussion, then the details get in the way, and haze forms over many peoples eyes of boredom, so enough about the science.  Setting the terra aside, the human factor is all that is to be mentioned or spoken of beyond this point.

The element of knowing that at any given moment, without warning calamity may crop out it’s head, does something to a set of people.  Perhaps it’s a sense of fatalism that oozes into ones actions, or cynicism that events are beyond ones control, hence why worry.   Yes, there’s that aspect, but not to the point of toxicity.  Instead, there’s a freedom of recognizing the tenuous nature of what is below our feet, and above us.  In this recognition, an ease can be found, prepared for, understood.

All that said, it’s been very quiet around here of late.

wbh

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The Game

Hamburger, acrylic on canvas, 1985/86, by Andy Warhol

The game comes down to one thing, and it has nothing to do with winning, just surviving.  Akin to a slalom course set on an icy hillside, the goal is to navigate through one lane to the next, skirting obstacles that loom up from hidden positions.  The real crux, is that each obstacle is attempting to do the exact same thing as you are, whether in compromised or advantaged positions, they careen and jockey for a viable lead.  There is no certain win to be found, only a respite from the game.

The whole strategy shifts dependent on something 30 km away happening.  One bumper meets another in an unsanctioned union, or that which is meant to remain in contact with the ground discovers a brief moment of flight ending in pain.   A major artery is clogged at this point, meaning the pent up pressure is diverted off onto another, creating a chain reaction that brings everything to a near standstill.   And the news only gets worse as minutes slip by adding into hours.

The end point waits, steady as an oak, swaying with the buffeting winds about it.  In between these rotational poles exists the turmoil, the congestive uncertainty about what is wanted or desired.   “More!” is the usual refrain, “More time”, “More money”, “More power”, or “More control”.    Each with a keen eye focused on individual goals, the flow retreats, then floods forward in extreme tides of action.   The shells and detritus that litters the ground between each tidal wave, exposes the discarded hopes  to be collected by gulls and combers.

Sure it sounds dour, but not really.  Probably the most natural thing in the world, if not the whole universe.  Aren’t our actions, no, actually our bodies, nothing more than microcosms and spindles of that immense thing that pops out during a clear night sky?   So bullocks those that claim they are outside the game!  Everyone is playing it long before birth, and long after death, until in fact it all purrs to a silent and empty star lit night.

wbh

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The Last Puritan

Torso, 1997, Gerhard Richter

 “The justification of art is the internal combustion it ignites in the hearts of men and not its shallow, externalized, public manifestations. The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but is, rather, the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.”

Glenn Gould

1962

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Around the center

Abstract Painting, 1995, by Gerhard Richter

The wind arrives today.  To be precise, just after the midnight hour, tipping into the early morning darkness.  Expectations are billed high on this one, everything aligned and pointing to this being one to remember.  There’s been many, some serious, others nothing more sprinklings of leaves, a few errant branches being shaken from the trees, long having been dried out and dead for years.  Yes, this is to be one to pay attention to, to acknowledge.

Sitting on the cusp, gives one time for pause, for consideration of what waits just beyond the horizon.  In the past, the wind represented a thing to enjoy and play within, to have it wash over ones skin and hair, free of thought.  Nights were spent out in the hot air driving high into the mountains, or climbing fire escapes to the tops of tall buildings to bask in its rush.  Madness seemed to rain all about, palm fronds crashing to ground, complete strangers taking on a surreal giddiness to be out in the chaos.  Static charges building up due to the dry nature of the ether, discharging on door handles, coins, and within handshakes.  The damage that occurred during each escapade, was thoughtfully observed while trekking off for the morning espresso, a bagel with brie to the side.   Without skin in the game, it’s easy to notice events devoid of worry.

Then life gradually demands more, as the mantle of the parent is passed onto the child, themselves becoming the adult.  The seasonal winds change from being something that is to be played within, to something to be viewed with weariness and caution.  Safety for ones children, protection of a home, a leery eye looking upward at the trees overhead, noting news reports and weather forecasts the same way one watches their cholesterol levels and blood pressure.   As the dry hurricane creeps closer, a noted uptick in tension and anxiety grip ones mind, refusing to relax or ease.

Yet within the turmoil, the memories push in to remind, to inform the present self that all is not to dread.  In a land that is marked and known for the ground shifting under ones feet at any moment with out notice, it’s the thing that can be seen and expected that is most vexing.   Slowly, each event is smiled over from the past, a recognition that whatever may happen, has happened many times before.  A resignation, acceptance, of that which is beyond ones control, can be fretted and mulled about, but when it comes right down to it, what ever can happen, will happen without regard.   Eyes open, a lightness of heart, the wind begins to gently stir the leaves creating crisscrosses of shadows in the late morning light.  In the coming darkness, childhood and the adult will meet again, within the crackle of static electricity, persistent gusts of memories and waves of wind, debris.

wbh

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