Jun 17, 2017

Lovejoy News 2.0

three drafts
Remember Lovejoy News?  It was a project I did a few years ago that was like a poet's phenology. I'd wander off into the neighborhood with the intention to observe and report on what was happening nature-wise. I tried to include myself and other humans in the ecology. I wanted to erase boundaries between human habitat and nature, between my inner world and outer world, between science and art. I see science as the mythology of the present. I love science, but I think humanity looses something vital when measurements and calculations become our only form of understanding. There is an increasing participation of non-scientists in scientific endeavors like naturalism these days, it is very exciting and I think it would be deeply enriching if people recorded their observations in their own inspired and creative voice.

I want to pickup Lovejoy News again—I barely scratched the surface of my intentions—but I thought it would be fun to first choose my 10 favorite sketches from the original project and make them into illustrations.  I just finished the first one from Jackson-Frazier Wetlands. I am really happy with it. The text is the most challenging part. Of course it is available in print too.


Jun 4, 2017

Four Excerpts from Spring

Today there were just the Cedars in their enigmatic tallness, their shrouded cores. Just the cedars and the grey sky.

It's evening. The day has been summer-like and we are all giddy with warmth. It will turn cold again soon, but for now the cool wood floor on my bare feet is a pleasure and the rhododendrons are heavy with their immense clusters of pink blossoms.

The sun has set. This would be the most gentle time to go for a walk but the rice cooks on the stove and I'm tired.

The rain is easier to take after a few sunny days. It feels like the lushness of a deep green forest instead of the misery of a cold cement city. It is the sort of rain that makes the green feel even greener so I step out into the world to hike.

Bald Hill is thick with trees—an invincible canopy until the very top. I walk slowly up realizing it is time to start acting like an old person who needs to conserve their health. Just as I step into the open a buzzard soars over barely clearing the trees. I feel blessed every time a vulture's imposing wing span lays its shadow across me, they are the softest birds.

There are trees with white flowers blooming everywhere and the air is thick with pollen.

I walk slowly all the way down the hill on the back side. This time I am not conserving my health. I want to take each inch of the shadowy vault the trail makes through the woods. I spy a kinglet on a bush next to a trail that is so small and still with his little hieroglyph of an eye. Later I hear a Swainson's thrush and try to spot it through the brush between it's little water drop calls.

As a Pacific Northwesterner a warm summer day feels like a silky sweater. My arms, so rarely bare, elicit the strongest contentment as I walk the trail from the parking lot of my work to the farmer's field, it is an unofficial trail used by deer and smokers mostly. The brush is so green and dense I feel as though I am burrowing instead of walking and it almost makes the 8 hours of answering phone calls seem like a reasonable way to spend one's day.

In the office I am sure I am a scourge cursed by karmic debt to stay until I can remember the exact order of the vowels in the word acetaminophen. In the wooded area, however, I am another mammal—rife with joy and searching for sustenance. I am welcome here as another creature and delight of earth, even in my funny clothes. Each step in my loafers on the dirt feels like an affirmation that I belong, an act of gratitude to be home and burrowing deeper into the green day.