Monday, October 17, 2011

Those Lovely Lines

 Nature loves arcs, lines pulled to a curve. Take the orbit of the plants, the curvature of gravity itself, the silhouette of the human body. Because nature loves curves, we love curves, too. We are made of them, thousands blending together to create life itself.
 So, at the pond, when I came upon a single clump of cattails thrust through the cool water, it wasn't the plant itself that stopped me in my tracks but their gentle curve.

 This might be my favorite photograph. Could I do better with a larger palette than mere shades of blue? Look how the sky is graduated and rippled in the surface of the water, from dark on the bottom to light above. Look how the cattail itself is green and shades of tan and yellow but how its reflection is a bold black. Which is the truer? Which is the more real?
When I look at the cattails shining on the water, I think of Japanese characters, even Oriental art ... simplicity itself. Thoreau would have stood at this spot transfixed, maybe shed a tear. How much can a single brush stroke represent? And here, one step closer to truth, the artist is nature herself.
 I stood there a moment, watching the water ripple against the stems and thought how perfect the scene. It is nothing more than a cattail reaching for life and yet it is the universe itself. The cosmos is captured in the curve.

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