Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"The Necessity of Empty Spaces"

"Empty: unoccupied, or uninhabited; unfrequented. We wear our language as blindly as our own faces. Only from the outside can we look into them. Empty is one of those words that reveals unspoken attitudes. Lacking people, it means. No humans equals nothing."

"... the deepest most satisfying sense of place comes from the keenest appreciation of its multifold distinctions. When the uniqueness of a place sings to us like a melody, then we will know, at last, what it means to be at home."

"The river was not always tame. In losing its roar, it has lost its wildness, and in losing its wildness, it has become less fearsome, and in losing its fearsomeness, it has grown less awesome. Its power survives, although pent up. One day the river will conquer the dam and be free, and wild, and fearsome again. It will prevail. But its power now lies hidden, and therefore unaccounted. We have temporarily discounted it and so hidden from ourselves its real nature. What we have done to the river, we have done to the earth. In subduing it, we have tamed our fears. But it is still a wild world, and in the wilderness there is nothing more dangerous than being unafraid."

Paul Gruchow, The Necessity of Empty Places, 1988

and speaking of fear... I learned today that we are going to "rattlesnake infested brushland" when visiting Lightning Field.

From Kenneth Baker's The Lightning Field:

"[Aby] Warburg had traveled to New Mexico in 1896, searching for modern vestiges of the serpent cult he had already traced from pagan antiquity through Christian art. He took great trouble to observe the masked dances that Native Americans in New Mexico performed to bring rain. Integral to the dances were live rattlesnakes: tangible, animate symbols of lighting."

I now propose to add a new verse to the Lightning Dance that features no rattlesnake sightings. Por favor!!

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