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Nov 26, 2006 2 Comments
Loaded with sketchbooks, ink and brush, I pace around the east side of the park trying to find a place to sit. I settle down under a modest tree. It feels like many have sat in this very spot.If I try to transpose the visual information to page, nothing happens. The marks don't find their home. The spark is absent. It will have some rudimentary form and space, but no presence. The picture says, "I saw a tree over there, a person there, the sky was kinda like this" and so on. But it doesn't Feel like any of it. A thin whispy mimicry of the reality. A pointless mimicry.A photo would capture it so much better.The inadequacies prove enough. I put down the brush and lean back against the tree, my hand up shielding my eyes from the late afternoon light. A scarf behind my head, I enjoy the cool air and think about how much worse my day, my life could be.I'm sitting under a large beech, the dirt yielding, almost moist. Yellowed curling leaves form a circle around its base, their density softer the further out from the tree. Five young men and a woman play touch football. An old wet black lab visits. Children on the playground make squeaky noises just far enough away. A small spider crawls across the open sketchbook, its pace slowed as it traverses the still damp stretches of ink.I know I can paint. I tell myself this everyday so it must be true. The next breath is, "I don't know what I'm doing." This is also true.I pull on my new hat, and slump down further against the tree. The hill, filled with houses and trees, rises up, a graying shape, to meet the milkiness of the afternoon sky. I start making mental compositions. A square painting, the top a ribbon with just enough room to fit the football players, a large expanse of green grass fading into the tumult of ocher brown leaves.Catching my eye, a thin glint of light from one leaf to another. A spider web thin enough that I feel nothing when I pass my hand through it - not even the leaves are disturbed. Another glint of light. And another and another.Across the broad collection of leaves, radiating some 30 feet from the tree, is a lacework of these delicate spider webs. They mark the paths tiny spiders have taken in their hunt for food. The number seems infinite. Softening my focus, I see the strands of light connect everything.I'm with a friend making our way back to that park. I want to show him the light, to start the conversation I always want to have - how does all of This connect? how does our making of things fit into these connections or resonate that connection? But what I feared had happened. The leaves had been raked into neat piles, islands in a neatly trimmed sea of grass. Shrugging, I start talking about a computer scripting problem. My eyes wander, losing focus. Without thinking, my brain diverted by the abstract cleverness of code, I connect the piles to the trees, and the trees to the people. the people to houses, the houses back to trees - their roots fingered with silvery threads reaching out, seeking, through the soil.


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