Ongoing Word Diary:kept while drawing
Layer Contradiction Mythical Antlers Blending Crossing
Collective – marks Projection Will Bewilderment Growth Shade
Textured ground Touch Control Methodology Care Desire Seek
Fearful Descending Unseen Hidden Dripping Momentum
Description of wire sculpture with wool
Rusted and interweaving, curved and lilting downward
Embracing the cold metal shapes protruding from the wood
The metal wires cling like weeds
The wood is soft and undulates under the shadows of the wires that surround it
In protection or imprisonment
The wool hangs and drips, caught by the nest of wire
Description of wire sculpture with gold 1
The path curves wildly
At moments it catches a glimpse of small filaments of gold that twist and wrap around the path,
Binding it, weaving segments together.
It circles around itself, confused or frantic
Moving forward then back again
Like a breath, it is spacious but hollow
Description of the wire sculpture with gold 2
It is bound about the rusted wire, smothering it with a reflective warmth
Regular and neat and tiny.
Leaf to circle drawings
Today I witnessed a beech leaf as it fell to the ground. It lay there green and waxy against the heaving ground moist and alive. The leaf curved and withered in its new-found humidity, until it grew like the ground beneath it, brown and dull in color. Its waxy finish was replaced by the shiny wetness of the earth. It remained where it fell, but it was only distinguishable by its narrow and sharp spine and ribs, that fought to keep their shape as the flesh of the leaf dissolved into the earth below. The skeleton itself soon melted away, transformed by some invisible life within the ground.
The one that fell
It fell in the storm. The wind came from across the channel, gales up to 100 mph. The night of the storm, it fell across the path just before the intersection, the “star” where five paths intersect in the forest. It was the night after the time changed, when we gained an hour. It must have made a loud sound, but we would have been too far to hear it against the wind. Even the leylandiis shifted with unease and then violence when a gale struck. No one slept. The following day, the sound of the wind actually roared and made me look up into the sky, as though it was a portent of something more, something greater that would follow. Everything was agitated. It created a tension, my shoulders hunched up to my ears, watching and waiting for the wind to bring something with it. Streets and yards were a mess of fall leaves.
The beech was still down a day later when I went for a run with the dog. The paths in the forest had been noticeably cleared, swept as though with a street cleaning machine. I had never known the paths to be so wide and neat. In the distance, we could hear a sound, the comically recognizable sound of a vacuum.
Without my glasses on, it looked as though the path turned suddenly, where it normally continues straight. But as we approached, I realized it was the tree, so much larger and more massive than I had imagined. The closer we got, we could see that the vacuuming had stopped just shy of the trunk, leaving a neat edge a few feet from the trunk.
Beech trees have an incredible bark. It is so smooth, that at times it looks as though there is something on the inside, twisting, writhing and pushing outward against it. You would imagine the bark would be flexible and taut. This beech was no different, except that it was horizontal and the top edge of the trunk reached my shoulders.
When a tree is growing, we may often comment on how large it is, how massive, if you can distinguish it from those around it; but when it has fallen, something changes. When it is no longer alive, when it is brought down to your own level, it becomes a tangible object with understandable proportions; its materiality becomes apparent in a way that it wasn’t before. It becomes a distinct individual; the one that fell.
I know that trees are bodies that do not generate heat, but as I reached my hands out to touch its bark and to feel its form underneath, I expected to feel warmth. It was hard and cool to the touch. How could a being so strong, solid and surrounded by other trees, fall alone in a storm? Had it been weakened? Had it begun its decline towards death? I wondered how old it must have been.
Actaeon and Artemis
In the hunt, they moved through the trees, covering ground. Ahead of them, the hounds smell the way across the damp earth. Breaths echoed and filled the air with steam; the warmth circled their faces. Visions blurred as they pushed deeper into the forest. They went their own ways, bugles in hand, searching, listening for the prey. The light shone through the canopy, penetrating the dense layers of foliage, and striking the ground with a steaming violence of dappled beams.
Actaeon strode on, the sound of the hounds in the distance, still within earshot. Alone, his footsteps and his breath remained silent; sounds of the forest camouflaged his way. Ahead he saw light in a clearing – a respite from the darkness and dense shadows of the forest. He came upon a mirror-like pond: a piece of the sky resting on the earth. Small waves disturbed the stillness and clarity of the reflected light. He moved closer and saw the goddess bathing, naked, encircled by forest nymphs. Her bow and arrows lay by the side of the pond. No one had seen her before. It was forbidden to see Artemis.
Transfixed by the vision, he stood, his feet rooted to the ground of the goddess. Afraid of her wrath and vengeful nature, unnoticed he remained, unable to move. In the distance the hounds still called to one another. Her camouflage, the trees, the forest and their foliage, did not reach her in the water. She was visible and vulnerable. Then the nymphs spotted Actaeon and instantly hid her from his view. Artemis shouted in his direction, but he remained paralyzed. “Tell them all what you have seen… if you can,” she waved her arm in his direction.
He opened his mouth to protest, to speak, but words did not come. His feet became unglued in fear as he began to run through the trees, faster and faster. But still no words came. A strangeness came over him as he ran. The forest seemed to change as his sense of smell and vision grew stronger. Frantically, his fingers grew together as his hands changed into hard hooves. His arms sprouted fur and transformed into front legs, which propelled him across the land. His nose and mouth extended outwards, and antlers pushed violently through his skin and sprung from the top of his head. He had become a being of the forest, a stag.
The sound of the hounds became louder as he darted in their direction. He opened his mouth to shout, to yell, but no words came; only a loud deep groan echoed through the trees around him. The hounds heard it, and bounded towards him. He wanted to shout to them that it was him; it was Actaeon! But the words never came. The hounds, on their hunt, set their site on him, and began ripping the newly transformed flesh from his fur-covered legs. Actaeon struggled in vain, but they were strong and numerous. He tried to shout again! And again. The groans just grew deeper, and the echoes were filled with pain. The dogs continued to jump at him. He wanted to cry out, he wanted them to recognize their master! As the stag fell to the ground, the relentless hounds now tearing at his core, he heard the sound of the bugle calling.