Oddments

In search of story


10 Comments

August 18.22: Coping, but barely

The almosts of the garden — I know them and yet I disbelieve. Almost ripe. Almost ready. The bud on the vine, swaddling life snugly within itself, almost a melon, almost a squash, almost a morning glory. I know what it will be and yet I disbelieve. The wonder of it is as new as the almost itself.

To watch is to disbelieve. It cannot be that Puritan-plain dirt conjures such richness of tapestry and ornament, emerald and amethyst, filigree of leaf and tendril. From the muslin of February to the brocade of August there is nothing believable. In a slow burst, the almosts bloom to opulence in velvety defiance of winter’s naysayers.

In the almost is the breath-stop, the cannot-be, that gossamer moment that hovers like the hummingbird I cannot hold.

 

 

Practicing prose poetry

with thanks to my son’s tomato forest.


8 Comments

Vagaries in Gestation: On Being Linear, Part l, 3.12.17

Tuberose © Maureen O’Hern

Did you ever hear words that stopped your breath? I did: our instructor told us that we had to draw without lines. I was a simple English major, with my toe tentatively dipped in the waters of botanical illustration, and I was frozen in that position, rethinking my commitment. Was she serious?

She went on: “There are no lines in Nature.” That helped me not at all. But I left my toe in. What ensued was slavish hunching over a drawing table with neurotically-controlled lighting, racing a life cycle, capturing it with graphite before it drooped and its shadows changed.

Yes, shadows. Not lines. I had to work with magnifying lenses clipped to my glasses, so demanding was the technique. What was perceived in my drawing as a line was in reality an obsessively nuanced shadow, pristine in its effect, subtle in its application. Deadly to my neck.

Thus did I become enamored of buds. I had, of course, marveled at buds as a gardener, but that was not the same as falling into them as a botanical artist. Their myriad tiny hills and vales had gone unnoticed by me  — how could I never have perceived that there was not the vestige of a line in those tiny becomings?

Becoming. The meaning of the bud.  That moment when something changes in us, when, for instance, someone tells us there are no lines.

Did I know that living — becoming — was not a simple matter of black and white, of sharp, clear line? Of course I did, but that was mere knowledge. Knowledge isn’t the same as wonder. One can follow a line to knowledge, but wonder awaits in shadows.

 

 

 

Please do not copy my drawings or use them in any way.

Vagaries in Gestation