BLOG: To Become Visible

Landscapes
  • Solstice / AXIS

    If the axis has been well and truly laid down in the quartet it should be possible to radiate in any direction without losing the strictness and congruity of the continuum.  
    — Lawrence Durrell, in Author’s Note to Clea (1960), the fourth volume of The Alexandria Quartet.

    I often visit the Poltalloch carvings. But these days, I try to look at them in a new way, which may also be the rediscovery of a very old way. This rediscovery is the notion of ‘cultural landscape', related to the wider notion of 'Total Ecology'. It involves abandoning the anthropocentric perspective of the modern West, and returning to the vision of human beings who understood themselves and their imagination as components of the natural world.
    … The context is not just the sheet of rock, but the landscape itself. … The fact that these places often had 'a long view' may be important. These were people who had a sense of themselves within a landscape, neither as owners nor as distant specks traversing a hostile space but as partners in this cosmos spread out around them.
    — Neal Ascherson, Stone Voices: The Search for Scotland (2002), excerpt pp 217-219.

    What happens to us
    Is irrelevant to the world’s geology
    But what happens to the world’s geology
    Is not irrelevant to us.
    We must reconcile ourselves to the stones,
    Not the stones to us.
    — Hugh MacDiarmid, from On a Raised Beach (1938), a poem from his years on the Shetland island of Whalsay

    As we humans drift further into climatic upheavals and waves of extinctions in the coming decades, the thousands of rock art images marked over tens of thousands of years may act as lodestars, axes, quiet reminders of spiritual endeavor. And yearnings. This in the spirit of clarity of what we are about, partaking of this gift, our sojourn called life.

    Album: Cup-and-Ring: Solstice/AXIS, Kilmartin, mid-Argyll, western Scotland. May 2019.

  • Landscope: Kilmartin, Scotland / Northern Great Basin Oregon/Nevada

    What but indirection / will get to the end of the sphere?
    - William Carlos Williams, Paterson V (1958)

    Landscope inquires of landscape: how do we see the actual?  Through glimpses in the fleeting present.  Actual becomes the imagined.  No vanishing point perspectives, simply elusive multiplicities; still points in the turning world. Juxtaposing geofact, biofact, artifact, in a semi-factual, quasi-actual, visual accounting of land and land-usings.
    To view the three collections:
    Landscope: Kilmartin, Argyll, Scotland UK  May 2019  
    Landscope Chewaucan, Lake County, Oregon USA  June 2019
    Landscope Washoe Nevada & Lake Oregon USA  Late June2019

    ... Or read on and click links below.

    Differences abundant between western Scotland and eastern Oregon.  Yet similarities strike me with a waking. Both marked deeply during the last ice age. In Oregon late Pleistocene lakes expanded and deepened among basin and range escarpments incising wave-cut terraces visible today.  In Argyll glacial ice carved and shaped lochs and striated sheeted bedrock.  Both places know ancient sequences of human migration, seasonal rounds, occupation, dislocation. Marked by stones, stones marked, placed and displaced signaling habitation, questing, burial. Animated landscapes.

    Today, the continual welling and folding of wilding lands layers with the presence of us humans, our residings, rough extractions, nurturing endeavors. Stuff and upheaval. Death and desire. I do not find contradiction. I lean into being there, quite willingly, to listen, learn, be surprised.  And make curious pictures as response, investigation, lingering revelation. There is a beyond I recognize: resilient millennia, tensive present, future spiral — all implied, surging, subsiding with the shifting patterns revealed within each particular occasion.

    KILMARTIN / BALLYGOWAN
    CHEWAUCAN / BASALT RIM

  • Cup-and-Ring Castleton

    Walking through the Castleton landscape.   Castleton, a farming area in Stirling County, Scotland, is three miles south the River Forth and equidistant from Glasgow and Edinburgh.  The cup-and-ring rock art on several bold outcrops is likely 4000-5000 years old. The carvings I found, worn yet very visible, occur on smooth exposed stone gently sloping to the north, while the numerous naturally-eroded, intertwining channels and grooves of the high vertical outcrop flow south. Water — as energy, as flow — and a long view to the south — strike me as fundamental to intent and meaning.  Yet how this sense may be melded with belief about place and change is a mystery.

    Two rock art places: Castleton Stirling
    A surprise reward of this day —  stone remnants of the early-15th-century Bruce's Castle.



  • Gravity and the mystery of water

    Rock art abides in the landscapes of the desert west.  Quiet tension between stone and the ephemeral of endurance. It’s gravity, volcanics, the mystery of water. The exposure of stone. The human markings reflect the fluid past, the bone dry seasons, spirits of place. Aspiration, nurturance.

    Four images below from the Volcanic Tablelands, Inyo/Mono Counties, CA, March 2019. Included in Landscopes II - an album of a March 2019 Equinox road trip in western Nevada and eastern California

  • Lone-Lizard sees Natural-History

    Lone-Lizard sees two iron troughs placed end-to-end tolerate a fence straddling and separating the two.The troughs are aircraft engine shipping containers manufactured on contract for the US Navy and US Air Force and surplussed from the 1950s-1960s. A metal plaque identifies one half-ton container as designed for J57 turboprop, an innovative 5000-pound Pratt & Whitney engine which the military turned to for its war planes in the early 1950s.

    Lone-Lizard sees California bighorn sheep reintroduced to Oregon from British Columbia in the early 1950s after eradication by the early 20th century of the native herds in Oregon - some few dozen bighorns live on rims and slopes rising to the east.

    Lone-Lizard sees beef cattle, a subspecies of cattle introduced from Europe, appearing seasonally in this BLM grazing allotment on public lands in the southern Warner Valley.

    Lone-Lizard sees the grazed seeding of Crested Wheatgrass, a livestock forage introduced from Russia and Siberia. Nearby, a fenced long-term-trend photo plot seeded in the early 1960s in the grazing allotment.
    Satellite photo below courtesy Google Earth; troughs on right.

    Lone-Lizard sees Natural-History is not natural; is not history.  Natural-History sees Lone-Lizard is not a lizard.

  • ChronoZoning Lake Abert

    Time collapses. This basalt is different. Harder. Darkly brown. Rounded water-smoothed boulders thick with feldspar crystals sparkling in the desert air.  Petroglyphs emerge ghost-like, yearning, dissolve as the light shifts, from 3000 YBP (+/- 2500 years).  Along the eastern shore of Lake Abert.  Along US Highway 395 north to Canada south to California 19th century geographic imaginings. Margins alive. Lichen cattle shrimp avocets bighorn. Saltcrusts fences bones placed stones. Wave cut road cut clay bed tar bed.

    Here the southwest edge the multi-layered Columbia River Flood Basalt Province. Color-coded on puzzled maps. 17-15 millions years Before Present.  Suddenly 8 million years ago the earth stretching west the block fault scarp breaks up as the valley sinks. After the last glacial the basin lake shrinks to a thin shimmer of a ghost of a brimming Pleistocene past.

    Other petroglyphs along Lake Abert carved on sheer-faced boulders cracked tumbled from the upward rims. A finer lighter basalt. Soft gray, dark gray, stony gray.  Petroglyphs recalling the Holocene seasons cycling with life. Peooles on and through this land for 14,000 years.Of and in this earth. Now named for absent Westerners. Deitz. Paisley. Warner. Abert too a ghostly misnomer from Fremont’s 1840s hauntings.

    A very near blurred future-time collides toward this place. Too soon geo-logically: a stark dry slope a dusty valley. Asphalt road bed black cracking tilting sliding into white salt. Trace chemicals congeal to bind the changing times. Patina darkens petroglyphs rock circles stacked walls. Wind carries the sparklings of the longing crystals on through the curve of time.

    More Abert images on Google+



  • The Inhabited Land, Seasons Round

    Toward the autumnal Equinox in Lassen County CA, September 2018.  A land inhabited for millennia, shifting radically in the last two centuries as indigenous peoples were discounted and displaced as euro-americans claimed, named, and settled in.  Still, the seasons, they go round and round, melding change, circling, spiraling, segmenting a wholeness. Sun, moon, earth, water: a reminding as time becomes space, space folds into time.

    Two collections of images:
    Lassen Inhabited: Canyons, roads, rocks, ancient and modern
    Seasons Round Cycles of Being and Becoming

  • Thinking with Remote

    It is sinking in the juniper canyon: remote becomes relative. High country west of Warner Rim: the planet spins as the stones vibrate, I feel this.  Marks made and objects produced, placed, glazed, as I look out about.  Sun rises. Sets. One thing happens. Then another.  Smoke-haze from afar colors the light. Day and night.  Bermed springs spill pools of blue in August heat. Lichens densely yellow, pale green. Pacific Connector towers count the miles from the Columbia River to crystalline L.A.  Night and day. Pause I do.  Thinking with remote. My presence witnessed by a standing forth.  In passing, with no illusions.

    Petroglyphs and Landscapes:  Relative Remote



  • Seeing Red in the Carrizo Mountains AZ July 2018

    This summer’s drought map of Four Corners haloes a fiery blood blob, appearing as the seething remains of an extraterrestrial arriving too fast on Earth.  The heating is geo-anthro, a spiraling cycle of desire and affect.  The blessing sun, neutral and forgiving, fuels the atmosphere, alighting evenly on skin, fur, leaf, and stone.  And on glass, concrete, and impounded waters.   

    In the red rock downslope of the Carrizo Mountains near Four Corners in Arizona, carved and painted figures witnessing centuries of change, watery abundance, desiccation, desire, ambition, absence, and a renewed presence. A Navajo man looking skyward toward the cliffs’ darting swifts, “The spirits of the ancient ones, the Anasazi.”  In this century, here now and heating, the ancient ones in frictioning forbearance seeing into a future accelerating toward the present.

    Carrizo Mountains RED

  • The coming together of things

    Conjugations, as the coming together of things, are here posed as photo-collages exploring the rock art landscapes of Warner Valley uplands, Lake County, Oregon.

    Conjugation as a term binds together a complex terrain of meanings. In biology:  The temporary fusion of organisms, especially as part of sexual reproduction.  In grammar: ... one of several classifications of verbs according to what inflections they take.

    In chemistry:  A system of delocalized orbitals consisting of alternating single bonds and double bonds.  In mathematics:  A function which negates the non-real part of a complex or hypercomplex number.

    Rock art coming together in and of the land, stone, light, weather. Fusion. Inflection. Delocalized orbitals. Negating non-real.
    Note: Definitions above derived from: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/conjugation


    Conjugations:  The Gallery