Thursday, March 15, 2012

I've been fighting sickness all week - reading about detoxes and watching the skies unload every form of precipitation imaginable. The wind shook the old Walnut in our back yard to the point that canopy branches taller than I am were falling. Today, I finally gave in to illness and have spent the morning in and out of sleep, reading Richard Louv's "Last Child in the Woods" and dreaming about the day the sun finally peeks out and we collect those branches, wrap them in yarn and create a forest in the living room. Spring time ants and tiny rubber polar bears will populate our new wilderness and Holden won't have to suffer from missing the views from treetops or smelling air populated with the resolve of pollen and lichen, not SUVs and steel foundries. Each time the wind blows our forest will grow a new yarn cocooned tree, and before long hikers lives will be lost and Pendleton will model a blanket for us. Take that "Nature Deficit Disorder."
Thanks to Kristen for sending me the following, more articulate piece:

Growing is Forever from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.

Monday, March 5, 2012

About that last call...

I'm feeling little guilty about how pretentious that last post was...
As way of apology, please enjoy this video from The Doozer - this dude has been making me pretty happy lately.

From Kudzo to Home

I'm reading a draft of a good friend's novel right now which collects tales from the magical woods of the South.  To be objective - it is tremendously good.

 However I'm not a good critic. I tend to look for what I need in the moment when engaging art, music and writing. I collect and interpret the nuances of the work to meet my immediate emotional needs without looking at the creator's intent. Which might explain why his humid Southern forest is less a kudzu growth and more the English Ivy of my own Northwest.
But that's exploring right? Making our own maps and curating our own museums from the scraps and collections we acquire is kind of the whole purpose of creating. Keri Smith's fantastic book "How to be an Explorer of the World" has become a bit of a bible for me in this regard.  She sums it up perfectly on the back cover when she points out - "At any given moment, no matter where you are, there are hundreds of things around you that are interesting and worth documenting." It's through that documentation that meaning is applied and importance is assigned to the objects and experience that happen.

(How a book with such a whimsical aesthetic could be so affecting is an ongoing concern)

So in this novel I'm reading there is a tree that collects the dreams  of nearby sleepers, weighing it's branches heavily with the mixed up  collections of the subconscious. It's like a metaphysical version of  the way lichen collect nitrates and chemicals from the air too tiny for the rest of the forest to process. The lichen carry more nutrients than any other member of their ecosystem, but as air pollution nears the woods lichen death is one of the first indicators.
Realizing the role the tiniest filters in the forest play makes one look closer at the scars and inconsistencies covering even the tiniest surfaces in the forest. Every one carries some weight - nutrients, genetic blips, parasites, pollution, 4-track recordings, diary comics, jokes about penguins - shit like that.