Sunday, October 24, 2010

Autumn Beech Sun Curtain

Autumn Beech Sun Curtain, originally uploaded by escher....

My brain seems to be empty. Empty of anything useful and it certainly does not contain a story. So in the hope that one might materialise I've started to type just to see what might happen.

I watched "There Will be Blood" last night and thought it was quite interesting and thought provoking. It seemed to me to be a study in the search for wealth and how, perhaps to people on the outside, someone's search for wealth will eventually reach a line and when that line is crossed then they will have earnt enough. When you view it from afar it is easy to think "if I had that much wealth then that would be enough for me and I would be happy and stop seeking more." Except when it is you seeking that wealth the line keeps moving, like you are trying to reach the horizon but of course you can never get there.

Daniel Day-Lewis' character in the film seemed to be chasing that horizon, always wanting more and never being happy with what he has. On the one hand wanting more can be seen as positive ambition, but on the other it may be seen as trying to fill an aching hole. The consumer society and the myth that happiness is found in needing and wanting more. Nirvana in shopping.

But is it just consumerism that is the problem? I go by the adage - be happy with what you have - but still it's ok to be ambitious? Perhaps not ambitious for a bigger car/house/ipod/iphone/camera but ambitious for better experiences, more knowledge, happier times.

I believe human beings have reached the top of the food chain because of our need to improve on what we do, how we are, how we live. A ceaseless restlessness to strive to do things better, more efficiently, to always improve on things. An urge to fight against creeping boredom by stimulating yourself to progress.

But I wonder whether these inner drives are not discerning and can be directed and applied to anything. When these urges are pointed towards possessions and then you start to try and improve yourself through the things that you buy. There must be a fundamental disconnect between that inner drive to improve and then satiating that desire by buying the latest gadget. The relief is only fleeting and then you are back to where you were. Needing to improve and yet all you have is a new whizzy phone or whatever. "Perhaps the next latest model will be the one that finally makes me enlightened? When can I get that one? I am already bored of this new one!"

At least if you learn a new skill, take a nice walk, make or create something then you as a person have developed a little more with something that you will keep with you forever. That new gadget simply satiates the desire to have one and once you do the hunger comes back anew so once again you want something new too (is there an Owl in here?). One step forward, one step back. "Why do I never seem to get closer to my destination?"

I noticed the Beech tree that I gathered these leaves from about a week ago. It grows on a steep slope next to an aqueduct crossing a ravine. Being a small tree its leaves were brighter and fresher and the colours more stark.

I wobbled down the slope and used a perfect hooked stick, I found nearby, to hold down a branch whilst I collected some leaves. I couldn't use just any tree so it was necessary to perform such a precarious maneouvre. It wasn't long before my concentration was instantly snapped from the branch I was grasping, to a sudden slip down the slippery slope. But fortunately after coming to stop at the bottom I realised I had enough leaves for my project and so I left my bottom, the tree and the treacherous slope to their own devices. Although, of course, my bottom followed on behind.

I knew that this morning there would be a frost and the hope of blue skies and sunshine. So I stitched together the leaves late on in the day yesterday so it would be ready to photograph at dawn amongst the sparkling crystals that Jack Frost had left behind.

I left it on the ground overnight and it frosted over but melted before I could capture it still frozen. Maybe that'll be a challenge for another day, frosted sculptures at dawn, approriate now I can look forward to winter.

So that's it, frost, sunshine and autumn beech leaves along with the contents of my mind over the last half an hour. Seems there was a little more in there that I thought! But then I can ramble on demand. As anyone who has been on the receiving end of any one of my one-way conversations can testify!

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