Artist as audience for the song of the world.
You are drawn to archways, those portals between worlds. You are drawn to the other ones like distant kin, and you sing us into them, always ending with the choral line, remember who you are.
When asked what you are doing, you say trying. Trying how? Like a witch, like a cat, like a fisher––cast, hunt, pull. You say, some have an agenda. But I am something else.
You mean to remember us back to the songlines we forgot. When you hear the world singing, you recognize the call. Pen in hand, you respond.
Inspired by the great American playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, and an excellent article by Michael Paulson about the artist in today’s New York Times.
The bone-readers tell a story: how the ancestor of all four-limbed creatures took its first steps on dry land. Here’s another: one day, one of the descendants of those long dwelling on land decided it was time to return. What followed were those familiar-looking progeny: whales, dolphins, porpoises, who seem to hold a certain invitation in their gaze, their play near boats and shores, and we can’t help our awe when we see them, calling Look!
Looking long, some of the bone readers speculate that the swelling in our chests, our voices, our eyes at these encounters is perhaps the product of one part primal memory and another of a longing to believe––that it is possible for someone long adapted to those acres beyond the spectral surfaces that once meant certain death, who has somehow adjusted the senses to account for the cacophony of what batted and chirped, rustled and warbled; rattled in the grasses and the winds––to still hear the call of a migrating pod thousands of miles away and think: home.
Inspired by the opening passage in Amber Dance’s article “The Evolution of Whales from Land to Sea.” The italicized phrase above is from this passage.