Witness Time [on Two Artists Tuesday]

I have this odd sense that time is standing still. I know it is not true though I still go outside each day to check my one sure source of proof: the ever-growing icicles. Ice damming. Without time, the icicles would not grow.

I have this odd sense that the earth is off its axis. I know it is not true though I still go outside each day to check my one sure source of proof. Through the roof, the heat of the house melts the snow and it behaves as water should. It takes the path of least resistance and flows downhill to the colder gutters and, again, behaves as water should. It slows and drips and refreezes as it reaches for earth. Snow to water to ice sculpture. Nature is still behaving according to its principles.

We are expecting snow again today. People are rushing to do their errands early. They want to be in before the snows come.

Twice yesterday, in separate phone calls, we heard the voices on the other end of the line declare that “Three weeks ago seems like a decade ago.” So much has happened. Everything seems in limbo. Both. Like the icicles, it’s hard to reconcile.

I opened the door early this morning to let DogDog out and I was delighted to hear a chorus of birds. I stood in the cold open doorway for a few moments and enjoyed the music. I closed my eyes. The chirpy sounds of spring were out of sync with the piles of snow and ice in our yard, so, with my eyes closed, I gave myself over to the moment.

There is a poignant moment in the Sisyphus saga. Death is bound to a post so time stands still. Without death, nothing moves. Nothing changes. Crops cannot grow. Water cannot flow. Eternal life comes at the expense of change, growth and uncertainty. Absolute certainty brings absolute boredom. Stasis. Icicles cannot form. Sisyphus frees Death from his captivity so water can once again behave as it should.

read Kerri’s blog post about ICE DAMMING

3 Responses

  1. And my two cents worth…

    You didn’t quite say it this way but icicles are lovely and poetic examples
    of suspended animation.
    We pretty much never have ’em in my
    neck of the woods.
    This is the best I can do for you.

    SUSPENDED ANIMATION
    Fossil Falls, Owens Valley
    July 22, 2002

    Rhyolite, basalt, old flows and cinders

    Coyote scat
    Wood rat mounds in every rock niche
    Wood rat scat

    Brittle Stems
    Beer can
    Boxer shorts
    Cigarette butt

    Bits of clay pigeon
    Climbing bolts
    Jet trails
    Broken bottle

    Rhyolite, basalt, old flows and cinders

    Pea green lichen
    And sunset orange
    Trail bike
    Power lines

    Memories of water

    In Rhyolite, basalt, old flows and cinders

    Tire tracks
    Foot treads

    Burrows
    For a twig
    A finger
    Two fingers
    A fist

    And a path beaten

    Owl Pellet
    Mouse’s jaw bone
    Cheetos bag
    Pull top

    Rhyolite, basalt, old flows and cinders

    Picnic table
    Trail marker
    Pump handle
    Fire pit

    Outhouse
    Chewing gum
    Creosote Bush
    Bones of the Sierra Scarp
    Alabama Hills

    Rhyolite, basalt, old flows and cinders

    (Fossil Falls is exactly that.
    It is an eternal footprint–
    carved in an ancient lava flow–
    by the Owens River before it got sucked away
    to water Los Angeles.
    The tale is still told that
    it was a sacred site to the indigenous people
    of that place long before LA came to be
    and when the river still flowed.)

    • This is worth much more than two cents. I’ve read it several times – lyrical and story-full. You ought to think on publishing one of these days.

      • I have. It is now out in the world on Two Artists’ Tuesday!

        Over the years I have continued to keep an eye peeled for and document whatever Suspended Animations catch my eye. The file of sketches, photos and notes may, in fact, constitute an entire volume…

        …one of these days?

        Lately I’ve been taking phone images of random stuff that has ended up in the gutters along my various dog walking routes. Years ago–when my mother was still alive and walking with me–I’d collect litter as we strolled slowly along. Virtually every bit would have made my SA cut had I chosen to document them. Two of the most common items in my neighborhood street gutters then? Cigarette butts and used condoms. Tells you something about my neighbors I guess though these days I find almost none of either thing. Habits do change with age and experience.

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