As I head off down the road, my head splits in two. Nothing but fibers stretching and breaking apart. As I wonder which hemisphere of my squash I might be more comfortable in, seeds spill out and spawn pathways that fork off into other pathways. The rhizomes tempt me to question whether comfort is worth anything at all. Constant wandering mimics the framework better than any static container. But if I am everywhere at once like a bust open squash spiraling its flesh in every direction possible, then how can it be that I also feel like a singular purposed machine racing toward a vanishing point (as if it wasn’t of its own making but some actual physical vertex that the machine will eventually shrink into)?
I do not remember the exact moment or place of this photograph. I vaguely remember and assume that I waited for the wave to crash. Or was it a boulder that fell into the sea? Either way it looks like fate now. After the fact. Every particle suspended in a moment. But it never was suspended in actual experience. In that sense, fate seems baked into memory. An inseparable part of it that fails to grasp the immense complexity of randomness. Generalized fate simulations of memory gloss over the myriad of differences under its cover in order to produce some cohesive sense of order. A gist in the mist. A referent to nature sold as an epic experience or a reflection of an aspect of consciousness that never quite happened in the actual way the photographer experienced it nor the viewer. A simulation of a hyperreal moment. A fated memory smashed by particles flying in all directions. Through the reproduction of the image, let us fold this back in on itself. Let us rework this “moment” randomly. Let us bring the mist back into the gist.
Now we are no longer in nature or under its referential control. It is released from any semblance to a fated memory or reality. It feels light and free. Nowhere in particular. More mist than gist. The random process mirrors the random moment. The iterations reveal that there wasn’t really any reference in the first place. No actual moment experienced and relived. Rather, hovering in a space without an atmosphere that Baudrillard called the hyperreal in his book, Simulations (1983): “Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or a substance. It is the generalization by models of real without origin or reality: a hyperreal.” In this sense, an angle on the illusion of Being can be held through what some people call manipulation of a photograph (or when they scoff at an image being “photoshopped”) when in fact every photograph is a manipulation to begin with (though the very word is too heavy with negative connotations as if it had some evil purpose, so “construction” perhaps fits better to a neutral sense of the process).
Look at the way she tumbles into forms in the sky. How she shrivels as if in a sweet agony for all she provides. Her nourishment to the cochineal. Her milk flowing for the wrens. Her surreal limbs an absurd perch for lizards. Her crooked windows perfect for spiderwebs to catch flying morsels.
This wild canopy cages the hill like gnarled hands rising out of their giant burials. These mad sculptors of fruit radiant with needles that mimic sunrays! What strange journey left these bent up propellers behind to worship the sun?
I cannot depict what I see in my head with any accuracy but I cannot stop trying to find the metaphors. The randomness of existence is the only rule left. And that used to sound demoralizing to me but not anymore because everything I experience seems beyond my capacity. Everything slips through my skin. Nothing is contained. Gravity is the only temporal bond. Movement is existence. Light splatters on wet ground. The ground becomes the light. The light brings the darkness yet darkness is not mere emptiness. Emptiness is not alone. Emptiness has the greatest potential as that from which any patterns emerge. Each image can only be an iteration of something never whole or complete. What is caught or exposed (for lack of a better word) between these iterations is the point of stringing them together. The wall space is the wet plate.
The thread that pulled the mandrake out of the ground was cut by its scream. Three circles were drawn beforehand and wax plugged my ears so that I could exhume it and mix it in a process involving sourdough from which these images were raised. A perilous endeavor to say the least but these vegetal spirits may now live on.
My legs push back against the precipice. My arms wearily hold the instrument as my eye peeps through the lens and my finger trembles to press the button on feelings exceeding a single frame. I could not survive out here. I am but a wanderer passing along this winding, perilous path. Blinking and glimpsing at something too powerful and raw to live beside with any of the comforts required to establish a productive way of life. Yet this is their home, their pattern, their habit, and their comfort. These dream-like forms, others simply call cormorants, gird the steepest drop back into the crashing swirl of sleep. Above the unfathomable chasm and below the infinite dome, a brood scratches its way along these stone faces of bulky severity. What wild ideas am I witnessing that can claw into such an impregnable form? Am I to believe that these are just cormorants stringing along the rocks whose random patterns of erosion drain into this dark sea? Just another iteration of genetic code replicating itself in this random display of meaninglessness? While they are scaling the deepest interior of my dreams and emerging as the shadowy forms from the deepest slumber? Even when this sublime scene awakens with a fervor of gargoyles ascending a cathedral in my mind’s eye?
The wilderness has a mysterious tongue Which teaches awful doubt, or faith so mild, So solemn, so serene, that man may be But for such faith with nature reconciled; Thou hast a voice, great Mountain, to repeal Large codes of fraud and woe; not understood By all, but which the wise and great, and good Interpret, or make felt, or deeply feel. From Mont Blanc by Percy Bysshe Shelley