#64: Beside Itself

(Rain Concerto: A Tree in Two Moments)

Here’s a pleasant, compact sentence from Andre Pieyre de Mandiagues’ novel, The Girl Beneath the Lion (Grove Press 1968): “ ‘The weather’s going to change,’ Juliette remarked” (p.93).  It’s a lovely, lean sentence.  Clean as a needle.  Still, in the matter of the personal prognostication Juliette’s utterance displays, and looking at the profound idea that the status quo shifts forever *the earth groans beneath your feet() and yet can be calmly, dispassionately understood in this changing, de Mandiagues’ simple sentence supports an invigorating payload of rumination.  

This photo from Lee Ka-sing's "Rain Concerto" series shows one tree viewed twice through a buffer of rain.  Here too "the weather's going to change," is already changed and changing. It's the same tree again but cataclysmically altered by millions of drops of rain (and by the artist's breathing as he holds his camera). Even if you took a thousand photographs of this rainy tree during in a one minute period, you'd never gaze upon an image of the same tree twice.

In his poem, "Some Trees,"John Ashbery writes of trees, "That they're merely being there means something/ that soon we may touch, love, explain....: (Some Trees, Ecco Press, 1978, p.51). Is that what trees mean?.  For me, they mean chaos.