Monday, December 07, 2009

To Plant a Tree

To plant a tree in rocky soil, every day dig the hole a little wider, a little deeper. For a small person with just a spade and a limited amount of time to spend each day, there’s no way to do it all at once. What kind of tree should it be? A big branchy tree like an oak or an elm, a tree for the ages. The metaphors for art and life are obvious.

Come inside, look at the books and magazines on the table and floor, and write down the titles of those on the tops of the piles. The Wild Braid, The Lightning Field, L’Homme nu, The Language Instinct, Modern Painters, Bulgaria, Art on Paper, Manzoni (with an image of himself thumbing his nose at the world), The Immense Journey, The Doctrine of Recognition. Pretty representative: a naked human standing in a field of lightning rods trying to communicate with other humans, hopeful but with an attitude.

Now pull out one of these books, Stanley Kunitz’s The Wild Braid and open it to a random quote. “I associate the garden with the whole experience of being alive, and so, there is nothing in the range of human experience that is separate from what the garden can signify in its eagerness and its insistence, and in its driving energy to live – to grow, to bear fruit.”

Oak tree courtesy of the website it's nature.

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