Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A treat for the dog days

Preece, Chemigram Texturology, 2013
It's the end of summer, the dog days they call it, but here on the Monterey Peninsula these are glorious days, hardly a cloud in the sky, perfect temperatures for humans on earth.  The sea churns on the rocks at Point Lobos as always, and if you peek through the pines you can just catch sight of whiskered sea otters bobbing in the waves beneath the cliffs, sometimes joined, incongruously - but there is so much of that it seems natural - by a seal or a kayaker.  Further inland in the mountains where I live, the red-tailed hawks glide on the afternoon thermals in the canyons, their magnified silhouettes skittering darkly over chaparral.  At sunset a great horned owl appears and below, a bobcat or a skunk slink about to claim the meadow where earlier had grazed deer and turkey.  My neighbor Mike has called his goats to their pen and his chickens to their coop.  Soon the first evening stars will appear but it's not toward Pegasus in the east that I'll be drawn tonight - that's easy pickins - but to Arcturus and Spica low in the west, where with luck I'll see not only Saturn but Venus too, goddess of love, the bright queen of the sky of the Babylonians.  She'll be low on the horizon so for that I'll have to climb the ridge.  Dog days indeed.

Yet this will ease my conscience at not doing any cameraless photography this month, and I will not hide my excuse: the bees have established a hive in the old shed where I keep my workbench and I am prevented.  I think I should go down the valley to visit Bobby Bashir or Jeff Robinson to fire my enthusiasm and remind me of what I miss.  Or Martha Casanave, who met me at the Portola the other day when we talked about her new book, Trajectories, which continues, in the months I've had it, to leave me with an uncanny tang of absence (strangely biting and attractive if I can speak like that), the absence of others and of ends to stories.  An aching, extremely beautiful book.

And then a gift arrived from Nolan Preece, a new chemigram.  Here it is, up above.  "Eee-gads!" cried Martha.  It's a sort of cavalcade of his own favorite chemigrams from recent years, woven into an elegant grid of chemigramic portals.  The whole affair seems destined to open a new chapter in what a chemigram is and can be.  We'll get the details from Nolan another time.  For now enjoy, it's the end of summer.