Field notes from the ground.
Once I ached to mature into a kind of effervescent grace of quiet luminosity, but it is something else to recognize that I am still the child on the floor, stacking pieces from a pile of scattered blocks like some aftermath. My hands have traded their dimples for veins, having somehow passed straight through elegance without so much as a pause, in their haste to build some appeal, but to what?
Perhaps to a continuance of the possibility of making anything, especially when it has become so obvious to go without saying (but, clumsy as I am, I’ll note it here): so much ends with falling. Or perhaps to this insistence: because it always falls in the end, I will build.
It will not last. It is a double-edged marvel, the not lasting and the way it sometimes holds just long enough to find a witness. Once, I felt the brush of the toddler’s eyelash at my cheek. One day, before the next fall, it still seems possible to climb some crumbling arrangement of dream fragments––and leap.
Sure, we had a habit of holding. All of us did. The sudden beauties we couldn’t keep from loving kept on doing what sudden beauties do. Don’t go, we said, but the plea sounded tinny in our ears. What resonated was the departure itself. We looked from a cliff, and with colors slanting words from us, we were gone before we left. Someone at the end of the horizon kept pulling back the sun. We had the sense of being the butt of the joke in this ritual play. The laughter was gentle, but we felt that it was something else, too. Sometimes.
After the sand of the hour had spilled from the mantle, I kept watch beside myself in low tide mirrors, the sea at my ankles returning us to the corners of childhood libraries. With bare feet resting in tulip beds, I borrowed confidence from open pages and read to them. Their still-unopened faces swayed in blind brilliance and we held there, unknowing.
Seasons passed and we were separated until I was alone at the edge of a wasteland. I had a threaded needle and no pattern in sight. I spent a long time dreaming. Once in the warehouse, time’s gears were in pieces on the floor. I held a face in my hands, and it whispered reminders. I would need to fold the fields behind me first, then set to stitching.
I wore fire against the rain and cut a new dress from the remnants of the last harvest. Gorged on ripe losses, my scalp sang anemones. Hold, I whispered to the new blooms, that they might stay until the hour returned.
Inspired by images in this article about the work of Ukranian artist Oleg Oprisco, known for creating surreal settings from everyday elements.
Ice crystal showers and no exact matches between them, foot after foot, later to water, then vapor. I love the story of Wilson Alwyn Bentley, dubbed Snowflake Bentley, who caught them on camera, against black velvet before they melted. He did it so well that no one else bothered for most of the next century. Ice flowers, he called them.
I remember making igloos big enough for one child to crawl in, belly-flat, and crouching, once inside, in the center room, looking out like a mole, surrounded by the display of the most recent storm, kneeling. How I would wait, taking it in, cupping tiny piles to my mouth, sneaking bites of pure winter, the quickening of my chest as it melted through me. I would repeat this ritual over and again, trying to hold it, holding still in the igloo, knowing it wouldn’t last.
I wanted to fall to my knees, Bentley said, of his first witness to what he called those tiny miracles, through his lens. Instead, he kept at it. He wanted others to be able to see, too.