A Real Head-Scratcher

Photo: Hairy Alien 1Hair-Raising Conundrums

What a puzzler it is that misty weather makes hair frizz

but rainy weather turns it flat—what kind of logic lies in that?

How, if light pressure makes unfurl what tighter tension leads to curl?

And why our nature is it called, that time grows hair more—or makes bald?

Makes me afraid the wond’ring fright could lead to greying overnight;

I s’pose it’s normal, to be fair, but find I’m tearing out my hair.

When it’s explained, sure I’ll be dead…

‘Least I’ll have moss atop my head.Photo: Hairy Alien 2

When You Come to a Fork in the Road…

…as the old joke goes, ‘take it!’ Silly and facetious, yes, but that’s about as close to decision-making as most of us can get when it comes to choosing between two or more equally excellent, terrible and/or unknown paths. We often dither so long before even reaching an intersection, just worrying about when and what it might be, that by the time we’re there we’re no closer to real and reasoned decisions and end up tripping all over ourselves while we fumble onto one branch of the road or another, sometimes even going so far as to get scared enough to back up to the fork and try another route instead. Which rarely tells us any more than utterly random movement what would’ve been the genuinely best choice. Just another of life’s unfair conundrums, after all.

Mixed media: So Many Forks in the Road, So Little Time

So Many Forks in the Road, So Little Time. Detail from a mixed media sculpted window valance in a vaguely neo-Baroque style. Fun, pointless, and well worth the making.

In art-making, thankfully, the results of such choices needn’t be either so clear-cut or so exclusive. Art is one of the environments most hospitable to a constantly changing mind or, barring the ability to decide at all, a good mash-up where the chosen option is ‘All of the Above.’ So I happily pot around making mixed media works, assemblages and a veritable multitude of artworks that are nothing in the least like what I thought I was planning to make when I started them. I love being allowed to not make up my mind, or sometimes to let my art make my mine up for me. This is undoubtedly a contributing factor in my perpetual inability to make anything remotely resembling a commercial success with any of my art, this indecisive character of mine. But it sure makes for fun playtime in the studio, and that at least is a sure distraction from any unpleasant paths life threatens to lead me down, so I guess I can’t really complain.

What Now?

I have heard others wonder, many a time, a thing that I have speculated on myself, namely, what the animals we look at so quizzically in nature, home or zoo think, in turn, of us. Do they even think of us at all, and if so, is it with curiosity? Is the curiosity limited to what we could feed them or whether, in point of fact, we could be fed to them–or does it go beyond this into realms we cannot even begin to guess?

As the calendar year trickles toward its end, many of us turn our inquiring minds toward the future and ask ourselves what lies ahead, and whether we can have any influence on it. We long to be happy and healthy, rich and free, but are often puzzled when directed to think not about how the universe can confer these delights upon our undeserving heads but instead, how we might earn or attain them by our own efforts.

For some reason, all of this recently began to merge in my own head, coalescing into an odd and perhaps contorted mystery of a related but new variant. Thanks to my appallingly unscientific mind, I suppose I have often pondered the universe in the same way that I do animals in relationship to humans, imagining the universe’s workings as some sort of parody of Baroque stage machinery. We occupy a stage on which we animals and plants and other living things act out a madly unscripted play amid the apparently clumsy clockworks of our artificially constructed container and wait for the deus ex machina resolution to clarify all that is, was and ever shall be therein.digital collageSuddenly, though, I’m struck by a further thought that if there is indeed any such power running the show, perhaps the universe is looking at us, at me, in great consternation and mystification, wondering when and how I will be explained. It makes me feel smaller than ever in the grand scheme of things, yet somehow comforted that I may not be entirely alone in my wondering. Will the year ahead, or the decade or lifetime, see my questions answered? Will the universe get its answers? I can’t even begin to imagine. But I like the thought that whatever is waiting on the other side of New Year’s Day may be just that much more miraculous than all of the exciting and surprising and wonderful stuff that went before it. I, for one, plan to stick around until the curtain falls.digital collage

Night Needs No Dreams and Dreams Need No Night

Magic happens whether supernatural beings or prestidigitators are present in the event or not. Marvels of every kind are present in the everyday and the ordinary if we only know where to look and how to see. Who are we, mere mortals, to question the existence of the miraculous or to doubt that it plays a role in the large and the small parts of our lives or that we, in turn, play our parts in it?photoWhy should we always second-guess the truth of the impossible, I wonder? Isn’t that notion so perfectly strange that it absolutely must be correct? How can we accept our own reality and yet fail to acknowledge the beauty and oddity and outrageous loveliness of all Otherness? Really, how?photoWhen night falls, sometimes we sleep; when we sleep, we may well dream. Nothing requires it, though, or guarantees that this is the natural sequence, the absolute pattern of things. No more do we know for certain that day brings wakefulness or waking, sanity.photoAll I can say for certain is that reality is far broader and deeper than I in my small, individual way can ever quite hope to comprehend–and probably than I would want to know, even if I could. It’s the mystery, the unknown and unknowable that makes life so piquant and our human places in it so poignant, after all. If it weren’t for the puzzles and conundrums and outlandishness that fill the spaces between the usual and expected bits of life, what glints of peculiar joy would decorate our dreams?

Go on now, let me go back to sleep.