I am as enthralled and enchanted with the American Water Dipper as John Muir once was. Indeed it was his favorite bird.
This demure brown bird about the size of a robin lives in cold mountain streams and near waterfalls. It is so incredibly at home in the water – more so than even ducks which often come back to land. Their very complex and always unique song is akin to a parrot in its language. But unlike other birds, it seems the Water Dipper sings to the river itself or simply because it cannot contain its ecstastic love for the flowing water. You can’t even hear its song that well because it is so interwoven with the gurgles and crash of rapids and waterfalls. It can usually be heard from above the stream bank a little easier.
John Muir was enraptured with the bird because it seems to retain its joyous happiness even in the darkest and coldest winters when all other animals are hunkered down wishing for spring. The Water Dipper reminds us that we can be at home anywhere – even the harshest environments. To be happy and live in joy no matter how damp, grey and “dreary” that others bemoan. To be one with your environment. To be in love with the elements.
It’s understandable when animals love each other within the same species. It’s precious when animals love other species, such as when a dog mothers a fawn. But it is downright profound to behold animals in love with elements within Nature. I’ve seen this by the way a dying bee clings to a clover flower such that I was overcome by the realization of how much love the bee had towards the flower. How much comfort and joy flowers brings to this insect. I’ve seen cows and horses leap with glee upon being put out to pasture. In love with open spaces and green grasses. I’ve seen my crow, Keiko, appreciate the colors of the setting sun. I’ve seen birds of all kind do the “rain dance” when misted by rain. A dance of wild ecstasy. But the greatest love, comfort and joy I’ve seen in an animal is the Water Ouzel with water.
So at home in the water, I wondered if perhaps it originated from water itself. Perhaps the droplets of water congealed with divinity to give rise to the Water Dipper. But when I considered this more I realized perhaps the Water Ouzel manifested from the river stones instead.
Indeed when searching for the Water Ouzel, it is hard to differentiate between the rocks. It is the same color, same size, same shape as the stones they hop upon.
Besides the beautiful voice, another notable feature of the Water Ouzel is how it bobs its body up and down. Bouncing in a motion like a child excited to begin. I’m reminded of the shaking motion we do in Qi Gong to move energy and break up stagnation.
Perhaps – I wonder – the water dipper manifested from the river rocks. Animated by the love they have for its flowing companion of water. Perhaps it can only remain in bird form for as long as it sings its song and dips its body up and down. For if they forget to sing and dance they’re sure to transform back into the rocks they came from.
Maybe we can take note from the water ouzel. Maybe we loose our vitality when we forget to sing and dance. Maybe we loose our magic when we fail to see the joy of our life and environment.
Give love to the elements. Dance in the rain. Let the sunsets move you to tears. Let wind whisper sweetness to your ears. Let the smell of forest and desert remind you of something which will never be explained. Be held by nature as you behold its timeless splendor.
Today is 2022-02-22. An alignment
of this many numbers is uncommon.
I began today with my usual
leaning into work where I did some plasma cutting and shop clean up.
But the most auspicious time of 2:22 2/2/2022 was fast approaching.
In 2019, my Prius was about to
turn 222,222 miles. Curious where I would end up, I kept driving till
it turned over. I found myself at a place called “Friday Creek”.
From here I found and crawled into a large hollowed tree and read the
words “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” written on the inside. A
potent message that was important to me during that time. I live for
these magical happenings.
Certainly this looming time today
had potential for similar discovery of magic.
I decided to head North in order to get away from the more busy Columbia Gorge. I could “smell” the scent of magic in that direction. I knew it would be in a place I had never been before.
Onward I went. Past Troutlake.
Then right onto road 88. I went as far as I could till the road was
no longer plowed. This happened to be a snow park. I ventured over
the giant burm of plowed ice and scurried into the unmarked wintry
forest. At this point I only had several minutes to find my magic
place. So I walked through the forest while keeping track of time. At
2:22 I was in front of a tree which a sign stapled to it stating:
“Boundary. Cutting Unit. Lipo.
I walked past this tree at 2:22
and during that same minute found a wellspring coming from a old
I marveled at how I found an
unmarked spring on my auspicious hunt. I went quite a bit further and
sat on a stump in the sun and
video recorded the meaning of what I had found.
Here is a summary of the meaning
that I found.
I often ask the
universe/source/spirit/god to give me magical signs that guide my
life to be clear. So often magic can be so exceedingly obscure that
it is difficult to get a clear answer. So I have requested universe
to give me signs written in plain English. These signs have
manifested in the example of finding the painting and note on the
barbed wire fence which matched the poem that came to mind while
playing piano a few days prior. Has manifested with a medicine woman
telling me to be a hollow bone, then being magically led to a hollow
tree the next day. Has manifested with finding a quote from a Rumi
tarot type card in the weeds randomly. Has manifested with the quote
I found inside the hollow tree when my prius turned 222,222.
And so here is a sign that says
“Boundary” and “Cutting”. What do these words mean to me?
Well let’s add more context,
recently I had a very meaningful and potent dream. I
will rewrite the dream here:I
was in some position of law enforcement and was going to a
neighborhood to check out a werewolf prop that someone had put up.
This werewolf head somehow landed on my windshield where I could
really see the details. It was like one of those gruesome wolf masks
you see at Halloween shops and was incredibly realistic. Very scary
but nonetheless fake. I thought the neighbors were overreacting with
what appeared to be a prank from some kid. But in hearing more of the
story from the neighbors, I found out this has been going on for some
time and the werewolf prop had been moved around strategically in a
way to intimidate people.
scene changed and I witnessed a group of vampires who would move this
werewolf prop. When they realized they were being watched, they
wrapped themselves in their black cloaks and disappeared back into
the forest. It is unknown whether they were real vampires or if they
were people pretending to be vampires.
The scene changed to my
Grandma’s land. Here I did energy work to protect the land from these
nefarious beings. I said words like “release, clarify, protection,
harmony” while physically using my hands to move unwanted energy
away from the land. I had a handful of long pine needles which I had
“charged” to be protective talismans – for lack of a better
word. I went to each corner of the land to plant one of these magic
pine needles to create an energetic protective fence around the
While I was working on energy clearing and protection, I
was also aware that I had a clone of myself sitting in the passenger
seat of my car out front of the house. This clone of myself was
deeply sleeping – or perhaps it was out of consciousness – or
perhaps it was dying. I was concerned about my clone self and cared
for it as if it was my child, however I couldn’t attend to it. I
couldn’t help him. Because I was doing energy clearing for others. I
also wasn’t able to plant the last corner with the last pine needle
before I woke up. I remember the feeling of moving energy. I
remember the concern and fear I had for the well-being of my clone
This dream can be summarized as
there are “vampires” in my life that take my attention away from
my primary path to the detriment of my well-being. This aligns with
my feeling that my attention has become so diluted away from the
things I was put here to do.
So what is the answer? The answer
is to have better boundaries and to cut the things
which are energy (blood) suckers. Let’s explore further…
The Rumi card I found in weeds a
few months ago has two meanings. It said “If you become a lion,
love will become a lion hunter.” This means if I become prideful
then love will predate me. Whereas if I embody the positive qualities
of a lion such as being courageous, then love will pleasantly seek
and befriend me. The phrase can be read in two opposing ways.
I need to have better boundaries
with what I say yes to. Better boundaries with what I invest my time
into. I need to have more boundaries.
Conversely I also need to
evaluate the walls that I hold around myself and my heart. I need to
cut the blockages that hold me back.
With the word “Cutting”. This
also has two meanings. It means I need to cut the things in my life
which do not serve towards the greatest harmony. This goes
hand-in-hand with boundaries.
Conversely how I am cutting
myself off from source authenticity. Just as I need to find and
dissolve the boundaries/blockages to flow, I must also find and
dissolve that which severs this flow. “Blockages” (boundaries)
are static things, whereas “severing” (cutting) are actions that
cut the flow.
There are always two sides to
every coin you find.
Let’s take this further and look
into numerology. The sign also said “Unit 19”.
The number 19 is both 1 and 9.
This number contains beginning cycle and ending cycle numbers. When
you add these two numbers it equals 10, which reduces (1+0) to 1.
Number 1 is the beginning of a cycle. The beginning of a new era. A
new way of being. A new way of being was born from the union of
beginnings and ends.
How relevant it is then that I
crossed an invisible boundary between this and that as marked by
number 19 during 2:22 2/22/2022. I am grateful my signs often come as
In this amplified time of “two”
there are two things which come to mind. That of relationship and
that of polarity. It is a time to reflect on relationships with
others and to observe how female and male create fertile
polarity/dichotomy just as winter begets summer. Night informs the
day. Death defines birth. And visa versa.
It is incredible to find an
unmarked secret spring in the middle of the forest by chance. And it
is especially potent for it to be revealed at such a powerful
alignment of two’s. What does the spring mean?
A spring represents yet another
dichotomy. It is the point where water (symbolic of consciousness)
goes from its etheric, dark, dream realm into the manifested,
above-ground realm of sunlight. It is the source of a cycle because
it is where it both ends and starts (19 = 1+9 = 10 = 1+0 = 1). It
reminds me of the importance to have a foot in both realms
simultaneously. The dream world and the get-er-done world. As a
creative, it is important for me to pull from the realm of ideas and
make them into reality. Poems, sculpture, music, dance, events,
structures and methods. I imagine mountain springs are where the
creative muses live. I am quite fond of collaborating with the
fleeting creative muses that come to me.
And so the wisdom I received on
Evaluate my life for blockages
while enacting healthy boundaries.
Evaluate my life for how I cut
myself from source, while also severing the things which do not help
A reminder to manifest my dreams
in flow state just as the mountain springs do.
That everything has two
A confirmation that magic can be found if you are willing to look for it.
During my covid sickness, I had a lot of tears. Not of sadness but of the wonder and beauty of life. Especially for gentleness and sweetness that people give each other. Tears for the poems written and the songs sung. Tears for the gentle caress of a baby’s head. Tears for artists who paint colorful canvases. For those who dance. Tears for those too frail to dance. Tears for those who care for others. Tears for music played by people who once young are now long gone. Tears for the sun on weatherworn barn wood and the swallows who live nearby. Tears of love for the gentle meandering streams and deer and trees. For every petrogplygh etched on stone. The preciousness of life which speeds by so fast. How just outside my window is magic that I too often ignore.
I identify with my intellect and my ability to “do” things. I deeply fear loosing these things. Yet there is something that we can never loose, something timeless. Something more valuable than all other possessions. It is loving gentleness.
To listen to another person. To truly behold another person. To touch with grounding hands. To give without ever expecting anything in return. To feel the joy in another person as your own joy.
To accept another person for as they are without trying to change them. To lay down all aggression, all persuasion, all sharpness.
To be centered in love in all interactions. What does this mean?
Can you feel love in your heart? Love in your body? To understand that we have within ourselves an inner child – around 6 year old – each with our own fears and pains.
Lift up those around you above you but without denigrating yourself. Always choose the path that gives power, sovereignty and autonomy to the people.
What is the path for greatest harmony? Choose that path.
Take time to be gentle with yourself. Be kind. Sit in a meadow. Make yourself tea. Write a letter. Dance, or hum, or roll around. Go watch the mountains touch the clouds. Watch what happens when the sun sets upon a juniper tree. The beauty of all things around us can be seen with fresh eyes. Taste, smell, feel and touch the world around us.
When was the last time you watched ants make their journey? Or looked for four leaf clovers? When was the last time you skipped along your path? Or climbed a tree? I don’t want to forget these things.
How precious life is. Everything is how it has to be right now. Every day we can hold love in our heart a little more. What do you love? Who do you love? There doesn’t need to be a reason why.
The truth is always simple yet so often we think it can’t be that simple.
Love is the solution.
Being centered in Love is the definition of a fulfilled life.
You never know when someone is having a hard time. We keep ourselves so strong on the outside. We don’t want to belabor others. And for this reason, give compassionate kindness to all who cross your path … you may never know how important it may be to them.
The premise of the book, “Big Magic”, is that creative ideas are like separate entities who go around knocking on people’s doors. Most people reject them, but some people actually open their door to let them in. Alas if you ignore them and try to come back to them in a year, it is likely they moved on to another person.
I very much resonate with this because I have long viewed creative inspiration as catching a wave while surfing. If you don’t act fast and catch a wave in the moment, then you loose it and probably won’t get it back. This is why I have pocket paper all the time – so I can record inspiration in the moment. This is also why I honor creative inspiration even if I have to stay up late into the night to get is done, otherwise the next day it might leave me.
I also believe intuition, synchronicity and premonition are also similar to separate entities. The more you honor and acknowledge and work with them the more they flow to you. It is as if the word gets out in the creative magic entity world that you are easy to work with and have an open door.
Dreams are also this way. The more you make a point to remember and record them, the easier they come and the more vivid they become.
This is why it is important to record, acknowledge and work with even small ideas and seemingly inconsequential magic. These small and inconsequential things might be part of larger magic. They might be a single word in a sentence or paragraph of magic. A single word doesn’t hold much weight, but when you begin tying words together they form a larger picture.
Creative ideas and magical happenings are a lot like dreams. If you don’t record them soon after experiencing them, they fade away and cannot be retrieved.
Similarly our memory fades quickly. By keeping record of ideas and magic, it allows you to make meaningful associations even years later as you re-read your record.
When speaking – especially something which takes time to describe – ask the listener permission to speak so as to not be rushed. Do they have time to listen? Be complete after speaking.
Start with a plan – a clear enough plan that anyone can follow it.
Always put tools away at the end of the day. Always clean workspace at the end of day.
Minimize unnecessary handling of materials. For example, instead of throwing trash in piles, throw directly in garbage.
Label, organize and document parts so anyone could continue the project. Keep fasteners in labeled bags.
For complex things, document how you go there – especially software like ableton, rhino and video editing. You might forget how you did a complex task when you try it again months or years later. In other words, make a quick reference manual on the steps and tools to complete complex tasks.
Contain projects in boxes, files, boundaries or zones. Try to contain project space compactly. For example, car parts be stored in the car. Minimize spread!
Minimize distractions and new projects till current projects are completed.
However, if multiple projects are in-progress, make sure to regularly acknowledge, communicate and work on these projects; this includes scheduling long blocks of work time to complete.
Some longstanding projects which have lost passion can become a drain on resources and attention. Either finish, delegate, sell or just remove from list forever.
Keep the whole in mind. Don’t over-develop one area at the expense of others. Imagine a drawing where the whole composition develops over time. Similarly, always consider how one thing relates to other things, especially the whole. What enhances the main vision versus distracts?
Allow for spaciousness. Spaciousness of time. Reduction of distraction. Minimization of clutter.
Set milestones for large projects.
If a project can be completed in one day or weekend, then don’t take longer to finish. Finish project promptly.
Anticipate all materials and parts to reduce delays.
Antenna of reception and transmission activated. Pure signal in all directions. The radio station of Joseph is now unimpeded. Radiation as the sun. And all that the sun manifests. Radiation of being. Radiation of creativity. Radiation of living divine purpose. Spiral of life and time. Non linear. Jumping paths. Jumping timelines. Gestalts of manifestation. Translation. A seed sprouting. A flower blooming. Power. Energy.
Horizon line of above and below. Inside and outside. The membrane separating past and future. Polarities and where they meet.
Ripples of effect outward. Waves of influence and impact and inspiration. Groundedness. Electrical groundedness. Grounded to source. Roots and seeds. Depth. Time for manifestation. Balance. Seeds. Deeper. Spiral of deep soul. Cocoon. Warmth. Darkness. Simplicity. Deeper than sub-conscious. Pointing yet deeper. Heart beyond heart. Existence beyond existence. Expansion. Hum and crackle of energy. Humming vibrations like in a power line. Humming vibration of blood coursing through veins. Of rivers coursing through channels. Of roots growing deeper.
We don’t normally think of personal organization being a key to spirituality. Indeed what comes to mind is ephemeral but enlightened people sitting on a rock wearing white robes meditating.
But white robes always get dirty once you start working.
Also it’s easy to be spiritual when you have renounced the life of our modern society. It’s easy if you are a monk. It’s easy if you live in a beautiful peaceful place. It’s easy if
But try being compassionate, patient and self-aware while dealing with traffic, delays, challenging people, a mountain of tasks and the other features of our modern society.
Those who maintain grounded center during that are the true spiritual masters.
Rather I believe in the adage “You start your spiritual journey chopping wood and carrying water; you end your journey chopping wood and carrying water”. Living a practical effective life is part of being spiritual. But by not having a system to offload our brains, then our overwhelmed consciousness no longer have capacity for creativity, relaxation and flow.
These systems involve writing stream of consciousness, maintaining sensible lists / schedules / projects, and having your stuff in the appropriate place.
I believe the essence of feng shui (spirituality of space) is simply reducing clutter and putting the things in the right places and containers. This allows energy to flow and consciousness to breath.
What other things that people could do in twenty minutes out of the day?
For people in romantic relationship, giving a massage or being intentionally intimate doing something like slow sex would work wonders. For those who admire beauty, do some kind of art for twenty minutes. Perhaps drawing, sculpting, painting, music, dance, sewing. For those with chaos, sit. For those with fog, write. For those who are ungrounded, be nature. For those who lack health, cook and exercise. For those with business, do broad visioning planning to see the picture. For athletes, visualize. For those who are too busy, delegate and prioritize. For those with anger, run. For those with sadness, comfort. For those with depression, lay in the grass under the sun. For those who have become callus, observe. For those who are tired, sleep. For those who lack inspiration, read a book.
The answers are always simple and obvious. It is important to remember that. The problem is stepping out of mindless habit that does not consider nor allow for the realization of the answer. Very often this is the habit of haste. The habit of multi-tasking. The habit of distractions.
It is now 1:20am. I am entering the stage of hypnagogia. I will now continue to write stream of consciousness, but more abstractly … listening to “Loscil – Gymnote” …
Mysterious fog/mist/cloud on the landscape of mine/consciousness/heart. Purple and blues greyed by the fog. Wet and damp. Cold. Green ferns tickle my feet as I walk through. It is quiet except for my own footsteps rustling through the vegetation and stones. I look behind me and can only see so far. I look ahead and can only see so far. But as I walk further I see more. But then see less behind me. I realize that I am hidden by the shroud of mist. I can do whatever I want. My clothes disintegrate as I realize this. I look at my body and see it in it’s perfect radiant young form oscillate to it’s oldest form then back to present then back to child. I am naked. There is something sensual about being naked in the mist. Reminded of the mermaids of ancient times. Mirrors all around. The clouds are mirrors to me. I see myself multifold. But they are individuals themselves. Living different lives. But they are me. But they are them. They fade away as I sink to my bare knees on the cold ground. I pick up the wet stalks of plants around me and taste it. They are vegetal and bitter. They taste green. And the mist tastes grey. I think of other senses. I taste the stones. They taste like the mist. I taste the hummus of soil. Dry. I get up and look up at the faintness of the moon – or is it the sun? I can’t tell because of the thick mist. Redwoods. They know. They consume the mist. Redwoods they know. As do the fungi that live beneath them. Electrical synapses between them. The worms know. They are blind yet they know. The owl in the tree yes, he knows as well. Hmm. Ancient signs carved into wood signs, the weather has erased meaning but you know it was once a sign for something. What is the point. Web fingered things like salamanders run on the water. Water skippers – how do they? Cambian layers. Layers of books. A book lays in front of me it’s pages turning randomly by the wind back and forth, wind can’t do that – can it? Perhaps something else is turning it. It’s an old book, I see things written, but as I approach they fade away. Only blank pages. What is the meaning? Disintegrates in my hands. Why is everything disintegrating? Tears. Why do things disintegrate? To be eaten by the earth and mist. Can’t I hold on to anything? I see my own body becoming transparent. I try to grasp something, a branch of a tree. Holding on to reality as my own tears evaporate into the mist. But to what point to hold on to anything when I myself am becoming invisible. But wasn’t it good enough to be invisible in shroud of mist? Why be invisible? What is doing this? Everything comes and goes. Everything manifests from the nebulous and back into the nebulous. The oscillations. From chaos to order and back again. One cannot resist. Allow yourself to be carried by the clouds. Floating floating. Weightless. The naked body manifests in perfect form yet again but now weightless floating. The stream of clouds they are hard to explain. Only known when standing on top of a mountain as the wind blows clouds around you. Wind whispers. What is it saying? The same thing the sign said. Whatever that was… Words cannot explain. Nothing can explain.
Being pulled downward downward. My body stretches like being pulled through a black hole – inescapable power. I become a stream of liquid going down some cosmic drain. Ooooohh into the earth I slip. I percolate. I meld. How a drop of water is absorbed by the ground. Down. Down. Where the roots are. Down towards some center. Some destination that all things seem to go towards. Things on the other side and all directions they seek that center as plumb seeks the same. Oscillations. As the trees are swayed by the wind. What does that feel like? To sway by the wind. To be danced by something beyond you. Something intangible. Something you cannot grasp … yet moves you. Water. From the high mountains it waits to greet the sun. The warmth of sun on the stones. The lizard waits and watches. The lichen they creep. Time speeds up and the lichen colors become alive as the seasons change they oscillate. Oscillation. Vibration. Polarity. Swinging the plumb bob becomes a pendulum. The ticking of a clock. Footsteps. Trace the footsteps back so far and they vanish. Into the mist they go. I take a deep breath and let it out feeling the invisible that sustains me go on to life a new life. Painted colors upon the wall. Black, grey, white, brown. Refraction in the crystals splits in rainbows of colors. To think all these colors are in every ray of light. Light only visible when it touches something. Like how music does not exist in the vacuum of space.
Planets. We think trees’ and mountains’ time perspective is vast. Planets … what do they feel? What is a season to Earth? Is it a breath? Is is heart beat? Unexplainable. To see without opening eyes. To hear without listening. To feel without touching. How? A consciousness beyond a brain. A consciousness outside of the confines of body. Just as fungi digest food outside of itself and we digest inside. There are many ways of being. How to understand something beyond thought. Beyond understanding?
Freedom freedom. To the realm of unknown. Dimensional onion layers of overlapping essence like those who taste wine to sense an undertone of leather and overtone of honeysuckle. Develop your senses. Senses. Develop. Take inspiration from the animals. They know. Take inspiration from the deer, and the wolf, the birds in the sky. From worms and termites. The ants and the aardvarks. The platypus. The fish deep in the ocean. The squid. The whales. How do they sense? How do they find their way? What do they know? Feel them feel all. Develop your senses by blunting your senses. Develop your senses through silence. Through fasting. To stillness. Develop through slowness. Develop through gentleness. Gentleness is the way for sensitivity.
Technology is powerful. Technology has been used by powerful people who have lost their way. Control. Has created zombies and has over stimulated the senses and awareness. Avoid. Avoid. Reduce. Be free. The antenna within. The reception within. The mind’s eye exceeds all screens. Develop it. The inner reception exceeds all other reception.
Foot steps on the cool soil. A circular clearing. My circular clearing. Heart beat of my own. Heart beat of the heart. I stand here naked before you my brothers and sisters. My mothers and fathers. My cousins. My childrens. My ancestors. I stand here, you can see me for who I am, see me my core. Understanding. See myself. See my cells. Gratitude is what I feel . Thank you.
Protectors of spirits in these circles. The place where music comes from. From where dance comes from. For guiding to me to the special places which make me pull off the road.
No need to compare. Be yourself. Sit with knowing. Do your work. Do the work you were meant to do. Do the work you were chosen and that which you chose. The work. Protect Nature. Speak for Nature. Speak for the old ones and the new ones. The familiar ones and the odd ones. The local the remote. The real and the unreal. The straight and the crooked. Speak. Communicate. Translate. Reception reception Reception. Take time to receive. Have time to receive. Take time to be. Close your eyes and allow. Abilities must not go to waste. And they won’t.
All things can be done if you listen. If you receive that which you need to receive. There is always time for it.
A weird an uneasy feeling in my stomach. A feeling of wanting something different. Goose bumps develop on my skin. Pin feathers begin to sprout from my skin. They are itchy. But soon unfurl like spring fiddleheads into colorful feathers on one side and demure feathers on the other side. I have wings. I have flight. Effortless. Like I was meant to I fly towards the sun, things don’t like to look into the sun, I can hide in shadows as I can hide in the brightest of bright. Why hide? Hiding is only a term for stillness and silence. It is why the cougar showed itself to me. Wait and sit. To watch is to receive. High from a tree I stand. I see the landscape from the perspective of all. Able to focus on any thing and all things. The winter is coming, but don’t worry it will give way to spring. This is why oscillation resilience is important. To be in the heat and be in the cold. Extremes. Oscillation. Coldness of winter. The pureness of snow gives way. The pureness of sprouts give way. Bear. I am bear. The bear hibernates. The bear awakens. The rabbit and the deer. They know. They accept. The smell of conifers in the air. The echoing call of robins. Red wind black birds.
If you sit on a stone long enough, you’ll become the stone.
Having spent my life in awe of Nature, I am fascinated with plants, animals and micro-biota. The stories and science behind each family, species and individual.
Despite my love for nature, I grew up in Kennewick playing in the industrial realm of steel and fire. Forming hard iron into sculptures since I was 14 years old using welders, plasma cutters and angle grinders.
This represents my interest in dichotomies. Masculine and Feminine. Night and Day. Birth and Death. Reception and Transmission. Light and Shadow. But it is where polarities meet where there is most power – between past and future is Now.
Now I split my time between Kennewick and White Salmon. This move brought me into contact with a new and softer art medium … trees.
Trees are a powerful sculptural forms. They are perfect. Sometimes when I look at trees, flowers, mushrooms and the landscapes they exist … I wonder why I’m an artist when nature has such beauty and meaning.
But through art, I can illustrate the parallels between trees and humans.
Humanity often perceives nature as competitive, but we are learning that nature also cooperates in nuanced ways.
When wolves were introduced to Yellowstone, they reduced the elk population, this allowed trees to grow near stream banks again, which provided food and materials for beavers to use, beaver dams flooded to create riparian zones, and these riparian zones aided the overall biodiversity and resilience of the ecosystem.
Trees are known to signal other trees of danger through scents. When other trees “smell” this, they start producing bitter compounds to dissuade the pest.
Many plants, especially legumes, host bacteria that pull nitrogen from the air into the soil thereby increasing fertility.
Tree roots create symbiotic relationships with the fungal network in the soil. Where trees provide sugars and the fungi provide minerals and water. This fungal web also transmits electrical signals at a speed of a third-of-an-inch per minute.
Through this fungal matrix, trees give excess sugar to their cousins who aren’t getting enough; because the health of the forest determines the health of the individual trees. Loosing your neighbors allows sun to parch the forest floor and creates a hole for wind to topple other trees. You never know when the tables turn where the once little trees may help the once big trees. Some old tree stumps remain alive for hundreds of years despite no leaves. This is because it’s children are pumping sugar and life support to the mother’s stump.
The chain is only as strong as the weakest link.
Perhaps humans in societies can learn from trees in forests.
My spires series sculptures speak to this. Each spire represents a tree in the forest and a human in society. The physical form of carved wood shows how the choices of carving are influenced by the circumstances of wood grain. This is the union of freewill and determinism. And provides the foundation where stories and personality are layered over time. The clothes we wear, the things we say, the dwellings we create, the movement we dance are akin to the paint and objects on the spires.
I salvage fallen trees or ones destined for cutting. I then use a chainsaw to form the rough shape on-site and take them back to where I can carve and sand them into their final shape. Over several months, I apply layers of paint and objects or stain and linseed oil. During this time, I also expose them to dance and music. Exposure to experience is what gives them life. I feel objects retain a memory of where they’ve been and thereby come to life.
Please sit with the individual spires, ask them questions, touch them or dance when no one is watching.