Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Alf, for reasons of his own, went across the road. I followed – my excuse was to supervise him there and back; the truth was that I wanted to walk up Dry Branch. The decisive motivation was to take photos of roots as references for the Old Grandmother painting I’m working on. The Yoruba call them “Aye” ~ meaning The Mothers, but also, connected by category; Space, planet - planets.

The roots are for her skirt. She hovers a few inches above the planet. The root tips dip into Dry Branch (really only dry in drought) and write, with dark indigo on faded old gold paper.

The Grandmothers wrote! With their actual hands, holding quills, on paper, whereas nowadays they do it solely with their minds, Ethereal Things!

The boundary turned out to be in a small briarpatch, neatly concealed by the effort of nearly avoiding scratches.

Then I noticed that the roots of the trees in my camera lens looked really strange, and then the rocks as well. I pressed the button that records the photons. I took a bunch of photographs.

I’m going to paint these images, about 5 of them, to illustrate certain spaces in the stream of time on my imaginary planet.
They are in a box, and you can choose any one and buy it for a price. This saves me from framing them, for which there is neither time nor money here in this world, yet.

But paintings of trees, stones and water, the sky reflected in the water, can be appealing. Of all the things I paint, besides flowers and birds, they’re the easiest to sell. Images of snow don’t go, even though I love it.

I wonder about The Grandmother in the painting. Her image is a bricollage of parts; a corseted black wedding dress like a sleek crow or a black crustacean, a stern face that’s seen its share of misdeeds and mistakes, hairdo in the shape of wind-torqued pine, on the attenuated rootlet writing she glides in place, posture more vertical than the labyrinth of trunks and branches behind her, in front the silhouette of a tiny bird.

Hopping to and fro through his native space of streamside tangle, I even catch a glimpse (but no photo, blithe spirit) of the Winter wren. It is this shape, but darkened in the shade, I plan to place in the foreground, before the box is closed.

The box is closed and lowered into the grave, cut into the frozen dark of the clay, surrounded by the snow, and that’s it, you walk away.

On the way back, before I got to where Bud and Bobby were burning a pile of branches that Bobby’d picked up to clear the edges of the field for the first spring mowing ~ “You know it’s Spring when the Hillbillies start burning things.” ~ I found an arc of dark green grass through the old dry field-wide mat, in stimulated symbiosis with the mycelia of moon-pulled meadow mushrooms, said, in folklore spread around the planet, to mark the footsteps of other beings that, in the prescribed prohibition of superstition shall here be un-named by me.

Now all I have to do is to clarify these categories, and do the actual work of putting paint on paper, careful at the boundaries, to reveal her in layers, wise, strong, still wearing the wedding dress of time; the last thing that the ancient Enchantress muse forgot how to do was sing.


Cathy said...

I love this post so much! I was enthralled by the gnarled tree roots visible in the Dry Branch, and your photos are marvelous.

Hi, Alpha Dog!

SBD said...


Cathy said...

ME TOO! We'll take a long long walk (yes, WFS, with our sticks) in May.