Monday, July 06, 2009
Some Portland Elements
A man calls to the sea and the sea answers. A man’s voice sends out messages and the sea responds. The sea responds with a force all out of proportion to the songs of the man. The sea is an uncontrollable force, with a song of its own that would drown any human voice, except that the man’s voice has doubled and tripled over on itself and can still be heard in the troughs of the waves. I thought of Shackleton and his men on the South Georgia Sea. I thought of the voice of God sounding over the darkness of the deep. I thought of the Hindu concept of vac, akin to the Greek concept of logos, and I thought, “in the beginning was the Word.” The next day I went to the Portland Observatory, heard the story of the great Portland conflagration of 1866 and looked out from the observatory deck toward the sea hidden by a fog that moved across the landscape as though it were smoke from a dying fire.
The man who daily calls forth the sea is Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay. His video The Same Problem is currently on view at MECA. The Portland Observatory is located on Congress Street on Munjoy Hill and offers tours to the very top.
Photo from the observatory deck by Sean Flaim.