Thursday, March 16, 2006

I keep noticing how trees look like giant bird legs when their roots are exposed. Don't know how I came to that observation but now I find myself looking a lot at the bases of trees to see how their roots look. To another tree I might be seen as some kind of pervert but I'm gone too fast for them to stop me. "NO-O-O-O-O!!" the cedar screamed, but the big creepy man was gone in the blink of a stoma....

But when I looked up I saw how the tree was planted about 2 feet from the corner of the garage and just like the ones that used to grow out front, this tree would have to go. But truthfully, it's just that if it grows too much more it will threaten the integrity of that corner. So something had to be done. I got the idea of trimming the top just below the corner of the roof and then the tree would likely begin growing more sideways, maybe make a nice screen... But then, when you think of that living being with it's most lately created, youngest, and highest of it's being suddenly clipped off, for what reason these new cells are consigned to the burn heap? Why, to make a screen for that perverted creepy thing!

But bonsai is like that in spades. And actually, I like trimming trees to make new shapes. Topiary creates new things, especially when I apply masks and other parts. But still, how they fight back, with thorns and broken stems, leaf dust even. But in the end I clip where I want and they grow pretty much how I want. I'm glad I can't hear the voice of the dryad involved, but there must be one, for all living things have spirit. Tradition for me anyway, is that dryad is the name for tree spirit. So that dryad had better be an art lover and I better be careful not to kill the tree! Otherwise, every time I walked past a tree, it would reach for me and try to scratch me. And rightly so! I ought to do better than that. I am, after all, the peak of creation, bar One. And said in a humble and not-at-all bragging thought, but really, at some level I Must be the highest, even if down here at this level I am nowhere near and I screw up all the time. This time I am right. If I trim that tree right about there it will be able to grow a truncated kind of life, but better than being turned into the leg of a table, just because it's root ball looks just like the leg of a giant bird.

That bird could be all of Creation, and all we see are the legs here and there as She walks through the shallow Waters of Existence. She'd be the Great Stork and we would worship Her by leaving fish guts in shallow waters near Her nests. As long as the bass hold out there is fecundity for all.
We'd see the whole Dance as trees growing. You gotta think about: those trees don't stop. Out there at the ends of the stems there are openings where the air comes in and mixes it up with the water inside to produce more cells and advance the hole. Now and then they build big solar panels to power the whole thing. But now and then a whole People go missing and growth is changed, they lose their direction and begin growing to the left and right and doing both badly badly, not like the original Plan. Even the Roots send less and less water. There are scars that never heal. And that creepy pervert walks by and plays with the Roots, dumping decaying fish among the First Roots to further humiliate us all. Still, somehow we find a way to build and expand the Tree, even as the wounds heal. We like to think that there is a Plan somewhere, a reason for all these changes we go through.

He Who Clips is just so damn fast, we can never get a real good glimpse of what it is that drives Him. Through the Net we know that others, sometimes entire nations, have been clipped and most often, burned. It is the Way of Life. We make our offerings to Earth each time a Clipping is perceived and Acknowledged.

But, let's face it. There are those who do quite well while others are being clipped. There are those who even prosper while others die. Accidents happen and Fate is sometimes strange, but it grinds me that sometimes others do so very well, often forcing other living beings to live in the shadows of their prosperity. Still, the parasites continue, decay and growth somehow balance, and sometimes those big bushy clusters are the next to go when another clipping comes. And the clippings never stop. We know that trees and shrubs and even mushrooms have all been here before and will likely spring up again somewhere, some time. There's a time to grow, a time to decay and even a time to burn. Every time we eat or even breathe, we take in some of those who have been before. We should remember that, and remember too that no matter who we were, or how great we became, in the end we all go back to Mother Earth. Even Mother Earth burns at the end. Science tells us that and so does Religion. So it must be true. But too, all fires go out some time and the rains come, the earth cools and She begins reaching out for the Sun in the Spring. All I want to do is trim Her Fingertips a bit. Just so the corner of the garage doesn't get all green and punky and have to be replaced. One more thing to think about.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I bought this foot scraper awhile back because I know come spring time our boots are going to be treading all through the kitchen leaving behind lots and lots of mud and crap. My friend Sharon has one of these outside her house. I love it! It has brushes on the sides and along the bottom and it gets firmly screwed to the deck outside the door. I always have to use it befor she lets me in to visit. I actually come half the time to visit her dog Tish, but Tish would make me scrape my boots too.

In order to attach this to my deck I needed a good heavy screwdriver especially as the deck is pressure treated wood. Well my sis sent me a box of tools from Mom's house that she figures Mom won't need as they were Dad's and Mom doesn't do much in the way of tools. She can always get Michael down the hall to do anything like that or even the maintenance people. I took out this ratchet screwdriver and started in using it. I quickly found that like so much of Dad's stuff, this was a cheap knock-off whose ratchet threads quickly wore out, leaving the poor thing spinning worthlessly. I went back to mine and finished the job. I started thinking about all those tools out in the shop with bad threads and bent metal... all those cheap-o tools dad would buy, often from an ad on the TV or a back of the mag ad. Sometimes cruising through K-Mart Dad would grab some little gadget made in China that looked just like the real thing only at a fraction of the price. They pretty much never worked. There's a coo-coo clock in the bathroom with 12 pictures of songbirds and on the hour there comes from that clock the strangest moaning sounds you ever heard. Nothing like a bird, that's for sure. Mom thinks it's because the batteries are low. I think it's because Dad bought a $19.99 special from Reader's Digest.

As I put away the screwdriver-like thingy I got to thinking about all those $19.99 specials Dad liked to buy. I wonder how much he put into them. I know I had a pair of pants he bought from a magazine that came in with enough waist to put both of us in. There were leather-like shoes that never wore out, unless you wore them. He says he was just trying to save some money but to some extent you know he was trying to have some faith in humanity. He wanted to believe that somewhere someone might sell a great tool or toy for a fraction of what the name brand costs. He wanted so hard to believe that with a smile and a handshake you could get a good deal on a car. You could be sure that If Dad sold you something with a handshake and a smile, that it would not only work, but if by some chance it failed he would buy it back. It was the right thing to do. That's why I never ended up with his survey equipment. He gave it to his crew chief when Dad retired so the guy could make a living with it. Instead the guy made a lamp out of the transit, because no surveyor uses those old optical transits any more. I suppose the level is a doorstop. Trouble is, I know how to use an optical transit and I would have used it to set up my fences and sheds and garage, maybe even survey my garden. Instead I have to look to ebay for a Gurley Transit in good shape with case and tripod. I do this hoping that someone somewhere got an old transit from their dad and now didn't want it or a lamp made from it. Dad would have loved ebay if he could have seen the screen of the computer.

Pappy loved a bargain and not because he was cheap. He loved bargains because we were poor. We were not middle class most of the time, we were poor. And Dad wanted us to have the kinds of things that middle class Americans had. He wanted us to have a nice house, a TV, good food, maybe even a car for him AND Mom. Not so much to ask and certainly not outrageous for a hard working man to expect. So he bought low. He brought home gizzards and salad and big bags of popcorn from the bar. We ate onion soup when we ran out of potatoes and when we ran out of onions dad would get a small jar of chipped beef, some flour and milk and we'd have SOS. He could feed us all with some day old bread and an egg... take that Jesus! Maybe he couldn't walk on water but he sure could stay under a heck of a long time while I rode on his back in the public swimming pool. Maybe he couldn't raise the dead and heal the sick but that didn't stop him from trying. When I got sick Dad was always there, always doing the right thing and without a complaint. Later he would get drunk, when the smoke cleared and he had the time.

It must have driven Dad crazy to have me leave the tools out in the yard after making some crazy toy like a boat for the canals around the nearby fields. I'd follow that boat all over the place on my bike, waiting by the locks and small falls where the water got diverted into the cotton fields. I thought it was because Dad had a fetish about neat, but now I understand why it was such a drag to have a saw get covered in rust, especially a nice one. Now I still leave things out in the yard, but now it's my voice saying "Oh, no! Look at this rust!" Dad used to wonder what it would take to make me learn to put things up. Don't really know, Dad, I still screw up.

And then he'd have to buy some oil or navy jelly and try to fix what I screwed up. I wonder why he didn't make me clean it up? Maybe he tried when I was too young and he just gave up on me. He would do that, expect a 4 year old to understand something a 9 year old might. Why not? He could do that when he was 4! Maybe, maybe he could. I think Dad had selective memory about his youth. That's why he would tell me horror stories about Grand Dad Riley beating him after he stole a car when a later story would have Grand Dad laughing when the cops told him about Dad swapping license plates to avoid getting caught. "Well, well. That was pretty smart!" Riley chuckled. Dad was hiding behind the door in wonder. See, I wouldn't have had the hair to hide from Dad and listen in on one of those busts. Dad would have tanned my hide good. For that matter I don't think I would have stolen a car just to see if I could do it. Dad never sold them, just drove them around. See, he never thought about the money, just trying out his skills and having a good time.

So the foot scraper is done, my ratchet gadget was better made than Dad's. I guess I'll save Dad's and see if it works for small jobs, but I suspect the reason it was stuffed under the sink with those other tools is that Dad found it didn't work and rather than try to get his $19.99 back he wrote it off and stuffed it under the sink. Well, Pappy, maybe I'll figure out what to do with it. Maybe make a sculpture out of it, the kind you might see in a gallery and say, "Jeezus Christ! Look at that, Billy! Hell, you could do something like that and make a million dollars!" Nah, Dad, not a million, but I bet I could find someone to buy it on Ebay for $19.99.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Awhile back I started to work on a series of sculptures (I seem to like to work in series) with the idea that I would examine the dominant deities which are lately thought of as male, and show them as female. It all came from a crucified figure I made with a female form and which I later recognized was the equivilant of the Catholic Crucifix. The basis of the veneration certain highly religious people feel toward images or even certain objects, is the closeness, I believe, to archetypal iomagery.

So, with a 'Jesus' image there I did a very nice Persephone and am still working on that now. Still got the face to do yet... sigh. Anyway, with all this stuff going on about the Muhammad cartoons, and which I am very ambiliant about, I got to worrying. Was this a good time to be going ahead with a theme of religious icons portrayed as female? And that got me started about a whole stream of images which could be gender-swapped, and what would that do to the images? I've started on an image of Kali and started an image of Krishna but I started thinking about the variations on the theme. And that's what slows you down. Getting all het up about some detail or another... better to let it drift off to the side while you create. So I decided that Krishna as a child was a good topic, with the additional neat thing that I could possibly work on a Mother and Child theme too. Gets complicated if you get too many cross-threads, but you get what I mean.

Well, I think the problem with having access to so much information is the processing time required to catalog it all. Nevertheless, you gotta wonder if they are chopping the hands off in various ways, should we stick out our neck? What if they miss and hit a vital organ? Yeah, that would be bad. But Here it starts to get interesting, because since I equate archetypes with gestalt on a grand scale... well, you just gotta know that if Krishna as Kali makes public policy now, things will get 'interesting' on the street.

But for those of us living on the rim of things, these can be full times. I just have to relax and let the breath out. Like being flushed down the toilet, you might not be full of shit, but you're going down anyway. I think in times like these I should just make the strongest pieces I can make and just not bandy them about. I say this because after I do Buddha and some of the Western deities as female I will sooner or later come to Islamic images and they are lately cutting off people's hands. Both our "Side" and "Thiers". I really think the guys on our side like to watch more than the guys on the other side. But you can be slippery and if I make the right images and do it well, when this whole things blows over at least there will be a record that thru it all some of us kept our sense of humor.