Memories sink back into the soft ground. Sweet must of hay mingles with the sea air. The cold morning fog washes in and out clusters of leafy hemispheres on spines of bark. The smelling salts of horse droppings snap yesterday’s dried twigs. I awaken here to a past I older than I experienced but feel it reach into me and claim me as its own. When the sun breaks through, it shines ancient as I drive away.
Odorless selves bloom into polymer formations. Plastic sticks shoot sterile nodes. Anti-seasonal Season’s Greetings scream out of sweaty closets stuffed full of forgotten double-knit polyester suits. Sideburn caterpillars slink into the fireplace glow of display screens. The same artificiality as last year fills the air with the cheer of a wig bouncing on a slippery pate. A polyethylene coating for the tongue helps cough up holiday hair balls.
Randomness swells across the floating line. It is difficult to keep track of the difference between each rolling frequency without the aid of a mechanical eye. The position of the threshold shifts and the intensity of the emergence stretches and breaks the surface in its specific yet same way. The reflections of the sun sparkle in patterns that mirror the random immensity of these movements. Phantom bodies roll through this ever-shifting zone where even if the same exact wave were to pass through it would be received differently but the difference would perhaps be slight enough to go unnoticed or slightly noticed then quickly forgotten. Like when one goes home and tells others “I went to the beach and watched the waves.” The waves get consolidated into one phenomenon. A general wave stuck breaking. A frequency on repeat. A signal from a fixed threshold of a composite memory sounding off like a fog horn moving with the fog. The exactitude of the origin lost to the layering of more emergences breaking into the mind when it shifts between its thresholds and loses track of all the iterations and the specificity of those iterations rolling by.
Locked up makeshift storage of once useful things long forgotten can be opened up many years later. Short-term memory waves broke decades ago but still wash up on the shore today where a row of new worshippers sit on their meditation boards, as the old did, and wrestle with their desires while they gaze upon their floating temple that guides them through the oncoming set of watery frequencies. And the reflection of my shadow, of who I used to be and all that I was unaware of when transfixed by that practice, oddly fits back into this ramshackle lean-to memory shed that seemed less permanent at the time it was built.
The space consumes the form and the form the space. The terrain absorbs itself. Color sops up difference. Separations pinch. Holes twist open. Pathways stretch from crevices. This strange material is caught in a stagnant churn. Reforming the form without any original form to begin with and no final form to reach. Tossing and tumbling into itself, it ingests what it discharges and discharges what it ingests. Its gestures are traces; its cracks experiences. A static vortex suspended by its own force hovers through the emptiness.
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.