When we are forced to make a transition, it is often unpleasant and unsettling…Such is the case when we must wake before dawn, dressing in the half light of a hotel room in a city we can’t recall without looking at the flight schedule, while praying for the half-caffeinated burnt medicine of hotel lobby coffee…But when our transitions are in the rearview mirror and we find ourselves watching the transitions of the world around us, we sense the magic and bask in the singularity of the moment…Dawn divides the abyss of night into the heavens above us and the earth and sea below us, separated by a widening line of ambiguous light. Our senses are, at once, excited and at ease, watching the glowing contours of the sea of clouds beneath us, reading the ride, delighting in the colors and the broadening light of day. This is our longing…to be in motion, to have purpose, to captain our ships, and to put all our activity and transitions into perspective while enjoying the view.
We often witness the surreal, but seldom recognize when we have become part of it…playing the part of spectator and performer. We move through the tension of an evening sky as though wet bristles over canvas, leaving our feathered strokes behind to play with the reflections.
It keeps spinning ahead…no matter our direction of travel or how fast our pursuit, we never truly return to the place that we left. Every moment of our lives, every breath of wind, every ray of sunlight, and every drop of rain is a singularity if our perspective is so grand as to recognize our constant motion. Events, places, times…no two the same…forever shifting as we move through space.
The light that shines imperfectly reminds us that, though unseen, it’s source is always with us, illuminating our hard edges, illuminating our shadowy places, illuminating our spirits…the strongest of lights project their radiance and warmth long after they vanish from sight and we forever bask in their glow.
Beneath the overcast, we fly headlong into the shadows of a darkening day, relying on nothing but our navigation systems to keep us clear of the earthly dangers below…as we ease into the complacency that our two dimensional depiction of the world creates, absent our normal visual cues, the hard edges of terrain are illuminated suddenly by spectral rays of light burning through the weather to guide our way and bringing our senses back to life.
The San Juan River flows into the Navajo Nation, twisting and turning as though attempting to look back on its path before moving on its epochal progression through the high desert. In its twisting motion, what appears a flat, trickling, indecisive stream reveals the constantly swirling undercurrents that propel it through the landscape…the calm demeanor belying a tempestuous heart, spinning and churning, driving the river along its way.
As in a distorted game of Rock Paper Scissors, cloud covers rock for the win…Our minds are marvelous things, as we juxtapose disparate ideas and find the common themes…where we sit and what we are doing are far less significant than the distances our minds travel…we move along the way, whether in a jet at Mach .80 or rocking in a chair on our front porch, we never stop moving, we never stop imagining…Today we dream of when the world will right itself so we can get back up there to bask in the light and take in the view.
In corners of our world, not so far from home, there are recesses that capture the essence of our being, shrouded in mist, hidden from the world, defined as much by darkness as by the narrow ribbons of light that pronounce their contours. In these places, vapor delicately rises off of streams and dew covered fields, Cardinals’ wings flash in their bravado, red and translucent in the brush, and insects illuminate like lanterns lifting out of the shadows above the fields. The morning light makes magic in the landscape of our backyards as we take the chance to explore all that is near.
The last light of the day can be the warmest and most indelible, staying with us through the darkest of nights and giving us hope for the dawn.
Traveling along our way across the earth as though following the sound of ethereal echoes to navigate the night sea…eyes closed, correcting course with each interpretation of shifting Doppler wave, each whispered word of calling on the wind. Focused on the sounds that guide us, blind to the hazards that confront us, we cruise and we rejoice in the singular moments of inspiration that grace us when we open our eyes.
As we negotiate the threats that fill our days, at times, we are so focused on the complicated contours of the landscape that we overlook the minutiae…And suddenly our attentions are drawn out of the rocks and into the blue depths of a placid mountain pool…On the most common of mornings, the brilliant, the electric, and the incongruous bring life and excitement into our lives if we are ready to be surprised.
The summit of Mount Rainier appears through a layer of haze as though floating in a textureless sea of blue…so much more unseen than seen…Immovable forces often seem to materialize before us, though they are ever present. Whether in the haze of hubris or complacency, light bends around them until, by force majeur, we are thrown into the arena where we are obliged to recon with the realities of our world.
You know who you are. You’ve launched at dawn. You’ve danced on a wing in the glow of the morning light. You’ve peered through the colored haze searching for landmarks to lead you home. You’ve dealt with ambiguity and kept the shiny side up. You’ve looked into this dreamscape and felt like you’ve come home. This is where we started and where we often return in our reverie.
Our earthly monuments stand regardless of whether we are out there to see them. Dream with me a little while and we’ll find ourselves back out there on the horizon.
At times, the twists and turns that lie ahead are masked by fog, disorienting us and leaving us uncertain of the best course to set…While the water vapor obscures our view, it defines the terrain around us, illuminating the irregular and imperfect hollows and valleys with its snowy white lines of joinery to create a wabi-sabi aesthetic greater than the solitary beauty of the mountains…in these moments we see the whole of this place and witness the interplay between earth, water, and air.
In the air we find excitement and a satisfaction of our wanderlust…we enjoy the gift of flight, drifting on the breeze as if man’s ability to fly were perfectly natural and routine… We have made it seem routine, but as it is the nexus between nature, art, and science, flight can be a magical and emotional experience when we pay attention to the details and revel in our movement through space. This is a tough time for people…uncertainty, illness, rational fears of infection…and yet, today I found inspiration. A young boy with wide eyes, a huge smile, and a glow in the dark dinosaur tee shirt approached me in the Memphis terminal exclaiming, “I’m going to get your autograph!” I squatted down to eye level as he began telling me about his trip, his family, his airplane logbook, his special shirt, his airplane, and his detailed observations of the airport. He told me that he was “this many,” holding up five fingers. He was electric. Every detail of the day excited him and he shared his wonder. As I had been focusing on washing my hands, distancing myself from strangers, and worrying about my disrupted flight schedule, my little friend brought the magic back to my experience, if only for a little while. This will continue to be a tough time and it will get tougher, but I’ll keep thinking of the joy and excitement of my young friend as I dream of our collective return to the sky. Be well.
We gather in iconic places for iconic views, but the view from the outside, the less iconic view, is every bit as spectacular. Many of us are staring at photos and dreaming of places to explore when apparent risks of travel abate, while others of us keep the skies open for business and gaze upon these sights, wishing we could share it with more of you. Be well and come back soon, we miss you.
In a swirl of rocks and color, we are lost in the details and complexities of our planet, our Earth, our world…as earth pushes mountains skyward and carves canyons out of river beds, we build bridges over rivers and highways across the skies…and when things seem to fall into entropic confusion, there is comfort in knowing that a rock garden lies beneath the horizon to captivate our imaginations, raked by wind and water, beautiful and elemental, awaiting a new perspective to recognize the enduring beauty of the natural order.
Out of the darkness and into the storm…we travel along the edge of chaos and negotiate the challenges that fate casts our way. We are never without storms…we see and avoid their flaring tempers in the night sky, but when we see them in the light of day, we better understand their movement and hazards, asserting control, we navigate toward calmer skies.
Earth and water tightly intertwined in salt flats and wetlands, neither yielding in their grasp of the other…the hydra hovering in a stop-action pose, dramatic and exaggerated. I keep coming back to this place in my mind…what at once appears static and elemental comes alive as we engage in our abstract perspective.