The summer after I graduated high school the significance of all of this and more became inspiration magnified. I was fascinated with shadows and reflections, both the patterns of algae beneath the water and clouds distilled upon its brown. I took numerous photos of this phenomenon and experimented with floating Queen Anne’s Lace through the viewfinder. Then the sky itself was a huge lens, and when lying down I traversed the heights of milk weed pod fluff and purple thistle crowns as though they were eyes. The sky was see-through, blue after blue sheets these antennae recorded, but I felt the sky was watching back too. I imagined laying huge mirrors on meadows to capture the effect, yet horizon lines too held wide wonder, especially when there was nothing but rolling waves of straw leading to them. The world was other, apart and gigantic.
Next, the macrocosmic turned micro, and dilapidated barns and abandoned milk houses, with their flowering weeds through the cracks, created universe upon universe. Woods too, with their brambles of gorse, the fallen logs of ant-hole civilizations and lichen steppes, seizing me like a botanist, as did my father’s gardens with their cornflower stars and nebulae of indigo cabbages.
What was I attempting to document? What was it I thought I would lose, was in the process of losing, while transitioning into young adulthood and the responsibilities of entering the work force? Innocence? But I was already an old-soul. Individuality? But I was already a queer duck. No. It was as if the photos were planting seeds while simultaneously making a time chest. I was hoarding and harvesting with no sense of practical anthropology, no thesis goal in sight to set out like a blueprint, a way to trace back a full proof answer as to why things were the way they were.
Decades later, tossed by tides of cities, jobs and the shifting winds of relationships, the constant question of that summer gives me an answer now that I was then what I am still: pagan as a druid and wild with the good wilderness that is within all whether we recognize ourselves as artists or not. I have gone from pastels to watercolors to oils to acrylics to mixed media and even film. I have found myself adding spices and rice to my canvasses as well as jewelry and glitter. I have found myself returning to those photos and that summer as much as I continue to keep a chronicle of existence with new photos and new scribbles. I have found myself returning to myself by losing myself to something larger. I have yet to determine if that larger energy is a god, but certainly the earth is a heavenly body eternity spins, coloring outside of the lines.