Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It was Henry Thoreau's birthday yesterday.

Is there anyone who studies or mingles or works with stone, who doesn't feel an affinity with lichen? There is a relationship there, which Thoreau aptly 'touches' on when he writes..“I seem to see somewhat more of my own kith and kin in the lichens on the rocks than in any books.” (Journal: 15 December 1841 Writings* Volume 7, page 296.)

It is as if we see something of our own nature and detect a hint of our distant origins in these natural 'living petroglyphs'.

Like our lives, lichen is a mystery. No amount of reading or research on the internet can adequately explain either away. We share a common lacy existence, clinging in marvelous manifestations to this our rocky planet – only on different scales.

All these crazy in-your-face colours jump off the surfaces of the rocks and bury themselves in the collective mind . The patterns have textures which like three dimensional fractals spread and overlap and curl upwards in layers like tiny pages of time itself.

Who could scrawl such appropriate graffiti on these sacred rocks and stones? Who could paint such convincing visions of the etherial? What hand could create such likenesses from nothingness and silence.

I foolishly hold my hand steady, paint brush poised and wait for inspiration and guidance. I hope to 'tune into' the beginnings of some new detail to this cosmic doodle. Perhaps the muse will show me, move me, teach me some small stroke, some decorative gesture, that I may add to this uncelebrated yet timeless work of art. Ah, but I see I will be here a long time. Try as I may I suspect I shall never understand the essence of such beauty. Ah lichen, what shall I liken thee to?

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