I find some of my new works disturbing, just as I find nature as a whole disturbing. The landscape is often perceived as pastoral, pretty, beautiful – something to be enjoyed as a backdrop to your weekend before going back to the nitty-gritty of urban life. But anybody who works the land knows it’s not like that. Nature can be harsh – difficult and brutal, as well as beautiful. You couldn’t walk five minutes from here without coming across something that is dead or decaying.
One doesn’t need to go anywhere special to be aware of beauty or truth. Even here, as I am writing this in my office, among the noise and clatter of the city, it’s all here. Maybe all that is required is to drop all of my unnecessary chatter, worries and concerns to allow the seemingly ordinary to become extraordinary.
In Herzog, author Saul Bellow writes: “Unexpected intrusions of beauty. That is what life is.”
So for me the question is: How to give myself to this life, to its harshness and its beauty, and allow for these intrusions of the unexpected to penetrate. How do I move forward into the mystery like the Persian poet Rumi said: “Attar roamed the seven cities of love — We are still just in one alley.”
Speaking of beauty, the Winter 2010/2011 issue of Parabola is on newsstands and in mailboxes around this big blue planet or ours, and it’s a real beauty.
Don’t miss it! Pick up your copy now or subscribe online.
From Parabola Magazine’s Weekly Newsletter: “Cities,” November 26, 2010.