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  • Credences of Summer


    Postpone the anatomy of summer, as
    The physical pine, the metaphysical pine.
    Let's see the very thing and nothing else.
    Let's see it with the hottest fire of sight.
    Burn everything not part of it to ash.

    Trace the gold sun about the whitened sky
    Without evasion by a single metaphor.
    Look at it in its essential barrenness
    And say this, this is the centre that I seek.
    Fix it in an eternal foliage

    And fill the foliage with arrested peace,
    Joy of such permanence, right ignorance
    Of change still possible. Exile desire
    For what is not. This is the barrenness
    Of the fertile thing that can attain no more.
    — Wallace Stevens [1]

    Below the upper reaches of this creek canyon with an expanse of petroglyphs on its ledges and boulders the valley widens in an embracing V, sweeping out to the east and south.  In this sloping valley most of the old junipers clear cut not too long ago, then the land burned. The hard crinkled stumps bear blackened testimony to a particular kind of credence. This is Oregon. A state where thousands of acres of old growth Juniper trees have been clear-cut in recent years with the blessing and support of the federal and state governments. Credence shaping absence.

    The petroglyphs marked here appear to span activity which occurred at least sporadically over thousands of years. This speculation is based on styles, placement, and patina — and drawing from on-the-ground experience with hundreds of other sites.  A guess. Without solid dating, understanding the sequences of plants and animals -- the living communities the native americans may have encountered, participated with, and exploited remains uncertain.  We do know the Juniper tree is native to these lands and has adapted and shifted its own way of being and becoming, its locales, elevations, and densities as climate changed. And will continue to do so.

    [1]  Poem II of Credences of Summer, a series in the collection Transport to Summer (1947)

  • Petroglyph Dreaming

    If an object reflects or transmits electromagnetic waves with a length of 0.4 millimicrons from the light shining on it, we say that it is blue; if it transmits waves with a length of 0.7 millimicrons, we describe the object as being red. The perception of color is a purely psychic and subjective event taking place in the inner space of an individual.
    — Albert Hofmann, in Insight, Outlook p7. (1986, trans. 1989)

    We came upon the metaphor, that resonant conduit our paths will never forget and whose waters have left their mark in our writing, perhaps comparable to the red mark that revealed the chosen to the Angel or the blue mark on houses condemned by Rosas' police, promising perdition. We came upon the metaphor, the invocation by which we disordered the rigid universe.  
    — Jorge Luis Borges, from After Images (1924) in Selected Non-Fictions, edited by Eliot Weinberger (1999)

    It is no secret that the usefulness of a term like "nature" dissolves in the confrontation between its ideological uses (divisions between the natural and the unnatural) and the distinct possibility that everything that happens is, in fact, natural. Is it natural to make art, or to do politics, or to decimate other life forms?
    — Christopher P. Heuer and Rebecca Zorach, Introduction, xv In Ecologies Agents Terrains (2018)

    There might be, too, a change immenser than
    A poet's metaphors in which being would

    Come true, a point in the fire of music where
    Dazzle yields to a clarity and we observe,

    And observing is completing and we are content,
    In a world that shrinks to an immediate whole,

    That we do not need to understand, complete
    Without secret arrangements of it in the mind.
    — Wallace Stevens, excerpt from Description Without Place in Transport to Summer (1947)

    Petroglyph Dreaming becoming integral to the life of the stone, the air, the light and water.  The dreamings are about the observer, the participant, as senses open to place, matter, and the spiral of time.