Friday, May 29, 2009

Beauty in Decay

It may be starting to look a little like Flanders Field around here, but how can a girl resist wet poppies? These poppies really like to get their gowns dirty, dropping their inky pollen onto their inverted silk skirts, but the steep drop of the rain cleaned them well this morning, too well. The luminous concavity reminds me of the frail iridescence of a slipper shell I'm sad to have misplaced.

Their beauty isn't wholesome, there's a menacing power in their structure, in the odd and obscene mask's eye most apparent after the petals have fallen away that gives especially poignant footnotes on nature's knotted signature. There's a perverse calligraphy in the eye's sooty tears which trace the topography of life and death in high relief. There's a sharp magnetism, entrapment, paralysis, jouissance, to draw from what I've been reading here, where frames sing about loosening limbs.

Perhaps it's useless to resist it. As Terry Tempest Williams writes in her essay Winter Solstice at Moab Slough, "But what kind of impoverishment is this to withhold emotion, to restrain our passionate nature in the face of a generous life just to appease our fears? A man or woman whose minds reins in the heart when the body sings desperately for connection can only expect more isolation and greater ecological disease. Our lack of intimacy with each other is in direct proportion to our lack of intimacy with the land. We have taken our love inside and abandoned the wild."

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