Friday, September 13, 2013

I Am a Fragment of the Landscape...

   In the exhibit I say recently of Toshio Shibata's photography, I saw a quote from photographer Robert Adams that really made me ponder its implications.

I tried to keep in mind a phrase
from a novel by Kawabata
"My life, a fragment of a
landscape.  The same applied,
I thought, to each of us..."

   I've often said, "I am my photographs" but am I a fragment of the landscape as well?   Interesting thought.  If all time, all creation, all people are part and parcel of a grand and infinite landscape, how does that effect our sense of ourselves?   It reminded me of something I read a long time ago about standing very close to a wall tapestry.  You can see the individual stitches but until you step back, way back, you cannot see the overall design.

   It also reminded me of a 19th century poem about blind men and an elephant.  You can read it here.   Each blind man understood the idea of "elephant" only from what they could actually touch, what their senses proved to me true.  As the poem said, they each were partially right but also totally wrong!

    Am I just a pebble on the beach in a landscape I cannot even begin to comprehend?   I only know the pebbles near to me and perhaps I think reality is limited to "pebbleness" is all there is because it is all I can see.    How wrong I would be!   Not far from the crevice I lay nestled in is a pounding sea but I cannot see it so for me it doesn't exist.   Do I trust only what my senses tell me and what my mind can rationalize and my science can prove?   Or is there a hidden truth that lies beyond that pebble beach?   Perhaps some of the pebbles on my beach can imagine that other reality...even if they can't see it or prove its existence in concrete, scientific terms.  They imagine forests and mountains, rushing rivers and the salty sea.  The other unimaginative pebbles laugh at them but they keep on imagining.  Maybe someone will come by one day and pick up those pebbles and toss them into the sea and then they will know they were right to imagine another reality.   I hope I am that kind of pebble...

1 comment:

Joy said...

I hope I am, too! What a beautiful reflection, thank you!