Crashing through the Snow

Few things are as visibly expressive of joy as a dog bounding excitedly through deep snow. Except, possibly, a whole bunch of dogs, plus a whole cadre of little kids, leaping, tunneling, floundering, grinning, and generally exploding their way through the same drifts.
Digital illustration: Snowflake

The problem with being an adult human is that we become so conscious of our creakiness and increasingly inflexible bodies, so obsessed with the dangers of having an infarction while shoveling or being speared in the forehead by a forty-pound icicle from the eaves, so hung up on our supposed decorum and dignity, that we stop risking not only true dangers but the possibility of gleefully tipping arse-over-teakettle into a billowing heap of powdery snow. It’s really too bad, because an occasional tumble from the pedestals we prop ourselves on, a momentary reminder of our own foolish frailty, and a smart whack on the overly fixed sense of reality is well worth a little bruising on ego and elbow. It might just teach us a renewed appreciation for the beauties of snow and nature. Why, if one were to be exceedingly incautious in the event, it might even turn out to be fun.

Hey, Lookit What I Found!

Crows are a great source of pleasure to me. I admire their bold, graphic good looks: wiry legs and strong beak, shining eyes, and smooth feathers accented with iridescent shine. I enjoy listening to their noisy announcements and conversations, knowing that whether one is broadcasting his name in braggadocio or informing the rest of the neighborhood of what she’s discovered, there is often more brainy expression and interaction going than in many a text-messaging flurry from a pack of attention-deficient humans.

Crows can be aggressive and mean-spirited like humans, too, as I well know from working many years on a heavily treed campus where nesting season was Open Season on certain passersby whom the crows chose to bully. But for the most part, when they’re not busy trying to defend their territory they devote a goodly amount of time and energy to exploring and problem-solving and even humorous play, that is also surprisingly easy to see through an anthropomorphic lens. If I see a crow taking a particular interest in anything, chances are pretty good that I’ll find it interesting myself, should I follow its lead.
Digital artwork from photographs: Curious Crows

Shore Enough

I am too smart for you by half; you think you’re bright? Don’t make me laugh!

You think me infantile and boisterous, but cannot crack an oyster

With no knife? Ha! Silly chums: no fingers, no opposing thumbs,

And yet, I’ve dined on oysters thrice before you’ve opened one. How nice

That you consider yourselves wise to have your thoughts and synthesize

Them into action, yet still fail to see that mine makes yours seem pale,

When you consider that you’ve got advantages that I have not,

And still I’m able, while you strive and strain to merely keep alive,

To caw this jeering little poem at you from this, my beachfront home.

Strange Birds & Iconoclasts

Nothing particularly wrong with being a strange bird.

Strangeness may be my only truly notable characteristic. I may not be particularly memorable to most people, what with being a mere mortal and all. Superpowers, I’ve none. Standout knowledge or skill or charisma? Nope. But being just a teensy bit weird, yeah, I’m all over that.

So I like to make art sometimes that is as pointlessly silly and eccentrically absurd as I am. I just feel I’m in a larger company of fringe characters than ever. And that, after all, is very probably exactly where I belong. I kind of like it on my perch. From here, the view is quite quirky and therefore strangely appealing. Come on over if and when you like, all you other odd birds out there.

digital illustrationRoom for Everyone

My friends, you are welcome to sit in my house,

admiring my other friends, family, spouse,

each one of us charming, delightful and sweet

as any convention of people you’ll meet,

as brainy and clever and heartwarming, too,

as anyone can be, and that includes you;

come in and enjoy the great company,

come in and be welcome, as welcome can be,

but please keep in mind, while you lounge in this spot:

compatible, yes, but the same we are not!digital illustration

Best Hardware-Software Combo Ever

digital collageWhat? People. Easy-peasy. People, people. The most productive combination of ideas and imagination with the support structures to bring them to reality that was ever created. And hey, the human machine is able in turn to create further things. Yes, like hardware and software, among many-many-many others. What a strange invention is the human, the first ‘learning computer,’ yet so prone to errors and malfunctions and full of operational bugs that if we’d been a product, our inventor would’ve gone bankrupt in a cosmic instant.

Despite our messiness, though, we remain marvelous and surprisingly elegant machines. The thought of building structures that are not only composed entirely of living cells that, in health, constantly renew themselves and rebuild but are also able to contain and generate and synthesize and communicate intangibles like belief and imagination is quite astounding. That we creatures are able, as well, to imitate our own invention by being creative ourselves is nothing short of bizarre and miraculous.

How lucky we are, how blessed, to be–despite our fragile and somewhat freakish nature–able to be powerful and lovely in our creative ways too. How grand that we can appreciate this loveliness. And how rich and potent, above all, that we can still recognize how small and fleeting all of this goodness is in the greater scheme of invention that embraces us, our fellow living things, our world, our galaxy, our universe–and all the marvels that are yet unknown to us. We are tiny, we are mighty, and we should always be in humble awe.digital collage

Janus, for Good or Ill

digital artwork

In every one of us there may be a little reflection of the god Janus . . .

Humans are not the only animals that can look both forward and back. But we’re the ones that choose to recognize this trait with a certain reverence and, particularly, to think we ought to make some use of it. We’re undoubtedly the only ones that impute a moral value to one or the other, depending not only on whichever we personally prefer but on what we think can benefit us or others.

We can spend our time and energies on studying, learning from, or even dwelling in the past. We can devote our hopes and plans to the ideation of what lies ahead as scientists, fortune tellers, scam artists or futurists of any sort from literary to application development. And there are certainly those among us who for whatever their religious, philosophical or preferential reasons are dedicated to keeping attention focused on the present time.

All of these approaches have their uses, to be sure. But I like to think that there’s room for a balanced use of this knowledge, these skills. In any time, there is much for us to learn. The successes and failures of the past inform present action, but keeping eyes on present action demands enough concentration that the revisiting of historical notes had best be done while not in the very act of the performance. Likewise, learning to predict, extrapolate and imagine possible improvements and variant outcomes is often the richest trove of possible new successes, but again, dreaming of these accomplishments-yet-to-come is only useful if we aren’t so immersed in them that we can’t complete the steps of today necessary to position us for the future.

We may not be the only beasts able to remember or to aspire, and are clearly not the only ones able to be completely present in the moment. But if we’re the only ones that truly care about such capabilities, why then, let us expend what effort and wisdom we’re able and see how well we can integrate the three. Only then, I suspect, will any of us ever live the fullest lives for which our many possible directions can set our courses.digital artwork